The press covers President Obama and Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. / Alex Wong, Getty Images
The war of words between Russia and the United States over Ukraine has now extended to ... White House press pools.
The Russian government -- at odds with the Obama administration over its military incursion into Crimea -- is claiming (falsely) that the White House excluded Russian journalists from coverage of this week's meeting between President Obama and Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
But as with previous White House visits by world leaders, and because of the smallish size of the Oval Office, only a pool of reporters were allowed to hear statements by Obama and Yatsenyuk. These pre-selected pools consist of reporters from each nation involved -- in this case the United States and Ukraine, not Russia.
"The idea that we would have excluded Russian press from a press spray because the President didn't want to take questions about the Ukrainian government is ludicrous," said Caitlin Hayden, spokesperson for the National Security Council.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Washington prefers "to deal only with 'approved' media propagating the 'required' information."
Expect more such back-and-forth for as long as Russian troops occupy the Crimea region of Ukraine.
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Read the original story: White House: Russia press pool claim 'ludicrous'