Nightly News   |  February 20, 2014

Ukraine’s President Ignores Obama, Rebuffs Foreign Ministers

The White House says it is outraged that the Ukraine government fired automatic weapons on its people.

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>>> late today, vice president joe biden spoke with ukraine 's president by phone. and diplomatically, the sub text is not complex, here we are again. the u.s. and russia, the west and what became of what we used to call the eastern bloc . nbc's andrea mitchell monitoring from our washington news room tonight, good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, all of this is just incredible. the white house is angry, outraged by the government's firing the automatic weapons on its own people. but while the vice president in the call urged restraint, ukraine 's leader is hearing a very different message from vladimir putin 's russia. in kiev, they marched people across the street. and beyond the capitol, the fire storm of anti-government protests is spreading, near the polish border , the command post has taken over. they are resisting appeals from the u.s. and the allies, rebuffing a delegation of foreign ministers , ignoring president obama . and ignoring repeated calls from secretary hagel.

>> there needs to be mediation, first and foremost, the government needs to pull back and not fire on its citizens.

>> reporter: the u.s. posed sanctions, and today, the u.n. upped the anti, but president yanukovych is listening to moscow and vladimir putin . putin's prime minister urged ukraine to be tougher, saying so people don't wipe their feet on the authorities like a door mat. the message to yanukovych, don't compromise.

>> and it is very clear that the russian leadership feels it is their right to do what they want and not our right to be involved at all.

>> reporter: tonight, european foreign ministers still in kiev are trying desperately to mediate with both sides, hoping to avoid more bloodshed. brian?

>> andrea mitchell in our washington