Obama national security aides discuss policy options for Ukraine

by Reuters
Saturday, 1 March 2014 20:46 GMT

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WASHINGTON, March 1 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's national security team met on Saturday for an update on the situation in Ukraine and to discuss potential policy options, a senior Obama administration official said.

The meeting came as Ukraine asked the United States and other key members of the U.N. Security Council to help safeguard its territorial integrity after Russia announced plans to send armed forces into the country's autonomous Crimea region.

Seen leaving the White House after the meeting were Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, CIA Director John Brennan, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and James Clapper, director of national intelligence.

"The president's national security team met today to receive an update on the situation in Ukraine and discuss potential policy options," said a senior administration official.

Obama did not attend the meeting, but he has been briefed about it by his national security adviser, Susan Rice, and his national security team, an official said.

At the same time, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke by phone with acting Ukrainian President Oleksander Turchynov on Saturday, a State Department official said.

(Reporting by Steve Holland and Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Eric Beech)

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