US, Europeans try to rally Western front vs Russia

President Barack Obama pauses as he answers a question regarding the ongoing situation in the Ukraine, during his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Monday, March 3, 2014, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S and major allies strained on Monday to rally a strong Western front to persuade Russia to step back from a military takeover of Ukraine’s strategic Crimea region. But several acknowledged there are few options beyond already-threatened economic and diplomatic penalties, and critics said administration efforts were too little, too late after years of pressing for friendlier relations with Moscow.

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