What Options Does the U.S. Have in the Ukraine-Russia Crisis?

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US Secretary of State John Kerry gestures during a press conference held at the US Embassy in Kiev on March 4, 2014. Kerry accused Russia on March 4 of looking for a 'pretext' to invade Ukraine.
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Russian forces in Crimea, violent protests in Kiev, escalating tensions between West and East: Over the last week, the stories dominating the headlines sound like a return to Cold War politics. 

Secretary of State John Kerry emphasized this point in a slight against Russia during a press conference in Kiev yesterday.

"It is not appropriate to invade a country and, at the end of a barrel of a gun, dictate what you are trying to achieve," he told a group of journalists. "That is not 21st century, G8, major nation behavior."

Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly discussed the Ukrainian crisis for the first time yesterday, though his version of events diverged sharply from Secretary Kerry's. Putin denied that Russian forces have occupied Crimea, and accused the United States of unnecessary intervention from abroad.

Should the Kremlin give the directive to intervene, Putin said "it will be legitimate and correspond to international law because we have a direct request from a legitimate president and it corresponds to our interests in protecting people who are close to us."

But diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis in Ukraine are being stepped up—the foreign ministers of Russia and the U.S. are preparing to hold talks in Paris, and European Union officials announced plans to offer an aid package to Ukraine worth as much as $15 billion, adding a hefty amount to the $1 billion in loan guarantees from the United States.

With Europe rallying around Ukraine, White House officials are weighing their options, but no clear course out of this crisis has emerged. 

Samuel Berger, former National Security Advisor under President Bill Clinton, has several decades of experience in solving diplomatic crises. Now the chair of the Albright Stonebridge Group, a strategic diplomacy firm in Washington, Berger explores potential ways forward for President Barack Obama. Takeaway Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich breaks down the range of proposals Congressional leaders are crafting in response to the Ukraine-Russia crisis.