Merkel: Putin risks ‘catastrophe’

Kerry warns of U.S., EU crisis steps

Posted: March 14, 2014 at 4:14 a.m.

Ukrainian interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk speaks as he holds a copy of the United Nations charter during an U.N. Security Council meeting on the Ukraine crisis, Thursday, March 13, 2014, at the United Nations Headquarters. Yatsenyuk, during a meeting with President Barack Obama on Wednesday, declared in English that his government was "absolutely ready and open for talks with the Russian Federation" and urged Moscow to "start the dialogue" without guns and tanks. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The U.S. and Germany stepped up pressure on Russia to back down from plans to annex Crimea from Ukraine after the region holds a referendum Sunday, warning they’ll exact an economic toll if Russia goes ahead.

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