WH warns Russia on Ukraine intervention

The Obama administration sought Saturday to ratchet up pressure on Russia to stay out of Ukraine, warning Moscow that any action there — even under the pretext of humanitarian purposes — would be viewed as a violation of international law.

In calls with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron, the president reached agreements with the leaders that any Russian intervention without Ukraine’s consent would “provoke additional consequences,” the White House said.

The government in Kiev shares that posture, the White House said, citing a separate discussion Saturday between Vice President Biden and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

“The two leaders agreed that if Russia were serious about improving the humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine, it had to immediately stop its shelling of Ukrainian troops and release Ukrainian hostages being held inside Russia, as well as cut its provision of weapons to Russian proxies operating in Ukraine,” according to a read out of the call.

Concerns of worsening unrest between the two countries have mounted in recent days following Kremlin’s suggestion that Russian “peacekeepers” could be deployed to Ukraine.

The administration has also expressed concerns that Russian forces were directly involved in the conflict between the Ukrainian military and separatists within the country.

On Saturday, the White House said the U.S. and Poroshenko were like-minded in their view that Russia must “engage with the international community and the Ukrainian government to find a political solution to the crisis.”