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President Obama and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. / JEWEL SAMAD, AFP/Getty Images

President Obama is continuing to call world leaders about possible sanctions on Russia over its military intervention in Ukraine, speaking late Thursday to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan.

"The two leaders agreed that Russia's actions are a threat to international peace and security and emphasized the importance of preserving Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," said a White House statement on the phone call.

While Obama and Abe discussed potential sanctions, they also talked about a plan to defuse the situation by having Russia pull back troops from the Crimea region and open direct talks with the new government in Ukraine.

The U.S. and allies have been unable to agree on international sanctions against Russia, which is a major energy supplier to Europe. The U.S. is moving to impose some unilateral penalties on President Vladimir Putin's government.

On their call, Obama and Abe agreed to work with allies on the Ukraine, and to support economic assistance to the country.

"They committed to work with other G-7 partners to insist that Russia abide by its obligations and commitments to Ukraine's sovereignty, including under the U.N. Charter and the 1997 basing agreement, but noted that there is an opportunity for Russia to resolve the situation diplomatically, in a way that addresses its interests as well as those of Ukraine and the international community," the White House said.

Obama also talked about his trip to Japan next month, saying it "will offer an important opportunity to advance the many diplomatic, defense and trade initiatives the United States and Japan are pursuing in Asia and around the globe," the White House said.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Obama speaks to Japan about Ukraine

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