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Obama: US And Europe United Behind Ukraine

Barack Obama has said Europe and America are united in their support of the Ukrainian government and its people.

 The US president spoke shortly after he arrived in Europe on a trip that will be dominated by efforts by Western leaders to forge a common response to Russia's annexation of Crimea.

"We're united in imposing a cost on Russia for its actions so far," Mr Obama said after meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

President Obama travels to EuropeMr Obama and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the Rijksmuseum

In an interview with Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, he added: "The United States does not view Europe as a battleground between East and West, nor do we see the situation in Ukraine as a zero-sum game.

"That's the kind of thinking that should have ended with the Cold War."

Washington has imposed sanctions on 31 people in a campaign carefully crafted to target Russian officials with links to President Vladimir Putin without creating a backlash against US businesses.

Russia's President Putin signs a bill confirming the annexation of Crimea.Defying Western sanctions, Vladimir Putin signs the annexation of Crimea

It has threatened to take further action if Russia does not de-escalate the crisis.

During his meetings in Europe, Mr Obama will seek to isolate Russia while gauging how far the still economically shaky European Union is willing to go in punishing Russia, one of its largest trading partners.

Russia has defied Western sanctions, consolidating its grip of Crimea as Ukrainian forces in the peninsula were ordered to pull out.

Russia's troop movements have raised fears of further incursions into Ukraine.

Russian troops massing along Ukraine borderRussian troops massing along the Ukrainian border

It comes after British Prime Minister David Cameron said the G8 summit planned for June in Sochi, Russia, cannot go ahead after its actions in Ukraine.

He said: "We should be clear there's not going to be a G8 summit this year in Russia. That's absolutely clear."

Preparations for the summit in Sochi had already been suspended as a result of Russia's actions in Ukraine.

The US president also held bilateral talks with with Chinese President Xi Jinpin, in another tricky front in US international relations.

Obama in EuropeThe nuclear summit in The Hague is held under tight security

The week-long trip will take Mr Obama to four countries.

In the Netherlands, he will join world leaders at the Nuclear Security Summit and head a hastily arranged meeting of the G7 - the US, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.

Mr Obama's focus on Ukraine will continue in Brussels, the headquarters for the EU and NATO.

A Rome stop will feature a highly anticipated meeting with Pope Francis.

Then the president will travel to Saudi Arabia for a fence-mending visit with the important Gulf ally.