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Ukraine Plane Crash

Obama, Merkel Discuss New Sanctions Against Russia After Jet Crash

President Barack Obama spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel Friday about the possibility of new sanctions against Russia if it doesn’t take steps to de-escalate the conflict in Ukraine that may have played a role in the shooting down of a commercial jet.

“While agreeing to continue efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the current crisis, they reaffirmed their determination to remain in close contact as they consider what additional actions may be required,” the White House said of the phone call between the two leaders.

“They emphasized that Russia bears a clear responsibility to deny separatists in eastern Ukraine continued access to heavy weapons and other support from inside Russia.”

The statement referred to sanctions Obama imposed on individuals and companies in Russia in response to what the U.S. said was their role in escalating the conflict between separatists and Ukrainian government forces in the eastern part of the country. Nearly 300 people were killed when Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crashed.

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— Phil Helsel