White House advisors say Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk’s Oval Office visit is meant to send a message to Russian President
It comes as leaders of the Group of 7 nations called Wednesday on Russia to drop its efforts to change the status of Crimea.
Given the lack of adequate preparation and the intimidating presence of Russian troops in the region, the leaders said in a statement, the referendum in Crimea set for Sunday would be "a deeply flawed process which would have no moral force."
Obama and Vice President
“There is an opportunity here to prevent this situation from becoming more acute and to prevent the costs to Russia from becoming even higher,” White House Press Secretary
[For The Record, 8:18 a.m. PST March 12: An earlier version of this post stated that the Crimea referendum will decide whether the region will become part of Russia. Voters will say whether they want the region to seek independence from Ukraine.]