March 14 - White House says 'regrettable' that Russia has not chosen to 'de-escalate' tensions in Ukraine, says U.S. is ready to respond to Crimea referendum. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Russia's failure to take steps to ease the crisis in Ukraine is "regrettable" and the United States is ready to respond quickly following a referendum planned for Sunday on whether Ukraine's Crimea region should join Russia, the White House said on Friday. "We have obviously not gotten to a situation where Russia has chosen to de-escalate, where Russia has chosen a path of resolving the situation peacefully and through diplomacy. That is regrettable," White House spokesman Jay Carney told a briefing. "We stand ready to respond should the referendum go forward on Sunday," Carney said. Carney's comments came as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in London in talks aimed at reducing tensions ahead of the planned referendum. =