Obama to speak about Ukraine at White House

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Barack Obama will deliver a statement about Ukraine.

Obama will speak in the briefing room of the White House at 1:05 p.m.

The remarks will be Obama's first since lawmakers in Crimea voted unanimously earlier Thursday to split from Ukraine and join Russia instead. They scheduled a referendum in 10 days for voters on the disputed peninsula to support or reject their decision.

The Obama administration is also slapping new visa restrictions against pro-Russian opponents to the new Ukraine government in Kiev, and clearing the way for upcoming financial sanctions.

The U.S. moves come as the West is seeking to punish Moscow for refusing to withdraw its troops from the strategic region that also houses Russia's Black Sea fleet.

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