Nightly News   |  April 26, 2014

Nations Prepare to Implement More Russian Sanctions

The U.S. increases its military presence in Europe as other governments prepare to implement sanctions on Russia because of its actions in Ukraine.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> the military increased presence as they prepare to impose more sanctions on russia this is foreign military observers remain in captivity tonight in ukraine , held by prorussian militants that acrkrucrecuse them of being spays. we get more from jim.

>> reporter: on the ground, firing the state of the art missile destroyers right under ukraine 's nose, while overhead russian fighter jets patrol the skies. these are supposed to be drills, but never has the crisis in ukraine looked closer to war. the war planes violated ukraine 's air space seven times overnight said ukraine 's prime minister.

>> the only reason is to provoke ukraine , to strike the soil and to accuse ukraine of waging the war to russia .

>> reporter: tension at a breaking point. prorussian militants occupy the town with armor and heavy weapons . while just outside town, concrete blocks cut off the main road , a new tactic.

>> these are ukrainian forces that have set up this check point, this blockade, really, the stronghold of the prorussian militants about five miles down the road. the idea is to isolate this town and prevent any supplies reinforcements, and most of all, weapons from getting through. but on friday insurgents struck back taking a 13-man team of military observers hostage holding them in this building. the on sevenobserver mission is here to negotiate but they say it's part of it. we get the impression that they are officers carrying out a certain spying mission he said. and with russia showing no signs of reigning in the militants, today, president obama on a state visit to malaysia and other g 7 leaders say they will impose more sanctions on russia individuals and businesses but not yet president vladimir putin saying russia has only escalated tensions. but as more u.s. troops landed today and a show of force in the neighboring, it was unclear in ukraine .

>>> for more on the crisis in ukraine , and how the obama administration is responding, we turn to our chief white house correspondent chuck todd traveling with the president in malaysia and david gregory with "meet the press." chuck, starting with you, with regard to whether ukraine is overshadowing the president's trip in any way.

>> well, it definitely is overshadowing the trip. it's a frustrated white house on many levels. number one, they are frustrated they can't get the european leaders to unite on something tougher against vladimir putin . they are frustrated this trip is getting overshadowed because they think they are accomplishing something here in asia and very frustrated with the press, as always, because they believe that somehow we're not telling that story. but clearly, the ukraine issue is dominating the president's down time. you know, he'll do a state dinner and got to go and make phone calls while he's in the middle of the night doing that and he's over here trying to assert american influence and american leadership and it's a region that really wants american influence and leadership, but as they watch what is going on in ukraine and the united states ' inability to get things done in europe, are they wondering does american leadership really going to help in asia?

>> at that point, let me turn to david. sanctions, it takes awhile for the bite to be felt. things are moving quickly in ukraine . is that all the president really has in his arsenal here?

>> at the moment. it doesn't appear to be a military consequence that the united states or the west want to make valladimir putin pay. that's a show of force saying there is a line here. the economic sanctions are tough. europe needs the oil, but the russian economy is hurting, and can hurt more. you have to ask whether russia really wants to invite ukraine or simply continue to be stable as ukraine to prevent it from really turning westward. it's the management of that that's so trickery right now for the white house .