Monday November 30th, 2015 3:07AM

Obama calls for a 'rethinking' on Crimea vote

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama expressed a glimmer of hope Wednesday that a referendum on the future of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula can be halted, as he met with the new leader of the former Soviet republic.

Sitting side by side in the Oval Office with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Obama said he hoped last-ditch diplomatic efforts might lead to a "rethinking" of Sunday's Russian-backed referendum. If the vote does occur, Obama said, the U.S. will "completely reject" its results. And he warned that the international community would be "forced to apply a cost to Russia's violation of international law."

"There's another path available and we hope President Putin is willing to seize that path," Obama said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin. "But if he does not, I'm very confident that the international community will stand firmly behind the Ukrainian government."

As Obama and Yatsenyuk met, a U.S. Senate committee advanced a measure to impose significant sanctions on Russia - a bid to pressure Putin to pull Russian troops out of Crimea. The measure, which now would go to the full Senate, would authorize $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine's new government and allow the Obama administration to impose economic penalties on Russian officials responsible for the intervention in Crimea or culpable of gross corruption.

In the 14-3 vote, all Foreign Relations Committee Democrats supported the measure. Republican objections concerned how the U.S. would pay for the loan guarantees and provisions to expand the lending authority of the International Monetary Fund.

The bill stops short of going after Russian banks or energy companies as some legislators proposed, but it would give Secretary of State John Kerry more leeway as he readies for diplomatic talks with his Russian counterpart in Europe on Friday.

Yatsenyuk, a 39-year-old pro-Western official, took control in late February after Ukraine's pro-Russian president fled after three months of political protests. With Ukraine now caught in a diplomatic battle between East and West, Yatsenyuk said Russia must recognize that his country can have ties with both.

"Ukraine is and will be part of the Western world," Yatsenyuk said, speaking in fluent English.

Obama's meeting with Yatsenyuk amounted to a diplomatic dig against Russia, which does not recognize Ukraine's new government. Russia has moved military forces into Crimea, a pro-Russian area that will vote Sunday on whether to become part of Russia or remain in Ukraine with broader powers.

Obama urged Congress to quickly approve the $1 billion loan guarantee to help Ukraine's fledgling government. That guarantee is supposed to supplement $15 billion in assistance from the European Union, as well as additional money from the International Monetary Fund.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 10 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 10 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 10 months ago )
U.S. News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 10 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 10 months ago )
Local/State News
Committee leaves transportation funding to lawmakers
Georgia will have to cover a $1 billion to $1.5 billion transportation funding gap to stay economically competitive, a committee of lawmakers is warning in a report issued Tuesday.
5:36AM ( 10 months ago )
US off war footing at year's end, but wars go on
Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Barack Obama may have suggested.
6:13PM ( 10 months ago )
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 10 months ago )
Standoff at Planned Parenthood ends with suspect's arrest; 3 killed, 9 wounded
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A gunman who opened fire inside a Planned Parenthood clinic was arrested Friday after engaging in gun battles with authorities during an hourslong standoff that killed t...
1:13AM ( 2 days ago )
White House undergoes Thanksgiving Day lockdown after man draped in American flag jumps fence
WASHINGTON (AP) — A man draped in an American flag climbed over the fence at the White House on Thursday, prompting a lockdown as the first family celebrated Thanksgiving.The man was immediately appre...
10:11PM ( 3 days ago )
Obama grants reprieve to turkeys 'Honest' and 'Abe' during White House ceremony
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama spared two turkeys named for one of the nation's most admired presidents, continuing a White House tradition that provides a refreshing sense of amusement and...
9:18PM ( 4 days ago )
The Latest: UN Security Council strongly condemns 'horrifying' attack in Mali, urges probe
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — The latest on the attack on a hotel in the Malian capital of Bamako. (All times local):___4:55 a.m.The U.N. Security Council is condemning "the horrifying terrorist attack" at the...
10:58PM ( 1 week ago )
World leaders vow vigorous response to Paris terror spree, but little indication of next steps
ANTALYA, Turkey (AP) — World leaders vowed a vigorous response to the Islamic State group's terror spree in Paris as they opened a two-day meeting in Turkey on Sunday, with President Barack Obama call...
2:14PM ( 2 weeks ago )