Obama stops short of calling Russia actions in Ukraine an invasion

President Barack Obama said on Thursday the United States and its allies would look for ways to expand economic sanctions on Russia after Kiev accused Moscow of moving troops into southeastern Ukraine, but he stopped short of calling the recent Russi
President Barack Obama said on Thursday the United States and its allies would look for ways to expand economic sanctions on Russia after Kiev accused Moscow of moving troops into southeastern Ukraine, but he stopped short of calling the recent Russian aggression an invasion. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - President Barack Obama said on Thursday the United States and its allies would look for ways to expand economic sanctions on Russia after Kiev accused Moscow of moving troops into southeastern Ukraine, but he stopped short of calling the recent Russian aggression an invasion.

"I consider the actions that we've seen in the last week a continuation of what's been taking place for months now," Obama said, noting Russian President Vladimir Putin has ignored opportunities to find a diplomatic end to the dispute.

Sanctions by the United States and European allies on Russia have hurt the economy, and Obama said "there are ways for us to deepen or expand the scope of some of that work" that he wants to discuss with Nato allies at a summit in Wales next week.

But Obama ruled out military action against Russia for its actions in Ukraine.

"I think it is very important to recognise that a military solution to this problem is not going to be forthcoming," he said.

He also said Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko would visit the White House next month.