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Obama plays up U.S.-Europe bond amid Russia tension

By The Associated Press

This article was published March 26, 2014 at 9:44 a.m.

BRUSSELS — President Barack Obama and European Union leaders presented a unified front Wednesday against Russia's annexation of Crimea and promoted adoption of a transatlantic trade as an antidote to Russia's influence in the region that would help Europe become less dependent on Moscow for its energy needs.

Obama said if anyone in Russian leadership thought they could drive wedge between the Europe and the United States through its aggression, "they clearly miscalculated."

Obama spoke during a news conference at the Council of the European Union, after a working lunch with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso that participants said was dominated by discussion of Ukraine. Van Rompuy called Russia's action in Crimea "a disgrace in the 21st century, and we will not recognize it."

Obama said coordination between the U.S. and Europe on economic sanctions against Russia has been excellent and warned that if Russia continues on its current course, "the isolation will deepen."

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