Ukraine crisis: Obama says still hopes for diplomatic solution

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US President Barack Obama said on Friday he still hopes for a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis heading into a pivotal weekend.

Obama, meeting Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny in the Oval Office, reiterated to reporters that there would be consequences should Russia refuse to loosen its grip on the Crimea region of southern Russia.

Crimea's pro-Russia parliament has scheduled a referendum on Sunday to decide whether the region should be annexed by Russia.

"We continue to hope that a diplomatic solution can be found," Obama said.

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