WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is blaming Russia for the escalating violence in eastern Ukraine.
The president spoke at the White House amid escalating tensions between Russia and the West. He says Russia is training, arming and funding pro-Russian separatists in Russia. He said new images of Russian forces inside Ukraine make that plain to see.
President Obama said Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will visit the White House next month. It's Poroshenko's first visit since becoming president and a major display of unity between the U.S. and Ukraine.
The president said he spoke by phone Thursday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He says Russia's incursion into Ukraine will bring additional consequences.
Ukrainian officials say two Russian military columns have rolled into the southeastern part of Ukraine after missiles were fired at a border post.
President Obama also spoke on ISIS. He said degrading Islamic State militants is going to require a "regional strategy" and assistance from partners in the Middle East.
The president is spoke shortly before meeting with his national security advisers to discuss options for going after the militant group. The president says he has asked the Pentagon to prepare a range of options for confronting the militants.
The U.S. is already going after militant targets inside Iraq and officials say President Obama is considering taking similar action in Syria.