President Obama and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny. / Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP
President Obama said Friday he still hopes for a diplomatic resolution to the standoff with Russia over Ukraine, but again warned the Russians about backing Sunday's secession vote in the Crimea region.
"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," Obama told reporters after a meeting with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.
Obama spoke as his Secretary of State John Kerry was in London negotiating with his Russia counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.
The United States is preparing possible sanctions on Russian or other individuals or businesses that are deemed to be involved in the military intervention in the Crimea region of Ukraine.
Obama and aides have also denounced Sunday's referendum on whether Crimea should leave Ukraine and join Russia, saying it is illegal and unconstitutional. They have also said the referendum cannot be fair as long as Russian troops occupy Crimea.
In London, Lavrov said Russia and the United States do not have a "common vision" on Ukraine, despite "useful" talks with Kerry.
Contributing: The Associated Press.
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