White House applauds EU movement toward more Russia sanctions

The Obama administration is applauding the European Council for considering more sanctions against Russia over its movement of troops and equipment across the Ukrainian border.

“We welcome the European Council's consensus today to show strong support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and to prepare further sanctions for consideration in coming days,” National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said in a statement late Saturday.

European Union (EU) leaders said late Saturday that they would draw up options within a week, according to multiple reports.

"I can assure you that everyone is fully aware that we have to act quickly given the escalation on the ground," European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Hayden said White House officials are working closely with the EU and other partners “to hold Russia accountable for its illegal actions in Ukraine, including through additional economic sanctions.’

“We remain committed to supporting Ukraine as it seeks a diplomatic resolution to the crisis and call on Russia to immediately remove its military, including troops and equipment, from Ukraine and end its illicit support to the separatists,” she added.

President Obama last Thursday sidestepped the question of whether Russia has mounted an invasion of Ukraine, describing the movement of troops and equipment as an "incursion" and "continuation of what's been taking place" in the region.

During remarks at the White House, Obama accused Russia of "deliberately and repeatedly" violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and vowed "more costs and consequences" from the United States and its allies.