Ukraine dominates Irish prime minister's visit

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The situation in Ukraine is looming large over the White House's St. Patrick's Day celebrations.

President Obama met Friday morning with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny in the Oval Office, where the pair discussed the Russian military incursion into the Crimean peninsula.

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"Obviously on our minds right now is the situation in Ukraine," Obama told reporters after the meeting. "Ireland has been a strong voice in the European Council for the need to send a clear message of support for Ukrainian democracy and self-determination, and a strong message to Russia that it should not violate the integrity and the sovereignty of its neighbor."

The president said he continued to hope for a diplomatic solution but stressed that "the United States and Europe stand united not only in its message about Ukrainian sovereignty, but also that there will be consequences if, in fact, that sovereignty continues to be violated."

Kenny, for his part, said he had briefed Obama on sentiment among European leaders, "particularly in relation to the situation in Ukraine."

"We hope that clarity of message and strength of feeling can prevent very difficult circumstances arising there," Kenny said.

In London, Secretary of State John Kerry was meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in a last-minute attempt to resolve the crisis ahead of a secession vote in Crimea planned for Sunday.

Earlier Friday, Kenny joined Vice President Biden for a St. Patrick's breakfast at the Naval Observatory. The leaders dined on eggs, potatoes, and Irish soda bread.

Later, the leaders will head to Capitol Hill for an annual luncheon with lawmakers. In the afternoon, Kenny will return to the White House for a St. Patrick's Day reception.