Obama aide: `Possible’ Russia could enter Ukraine

Ukraine Crimea
Local residents chopping wood for a bonfire as Russian soldier guards the gate of an Ukrainian infantry base in Perevalne, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Tensions remained high in the strategic Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea with troops loyal to Moscow firing warning shots to ward off protesting Ukrainian soldiers. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A top White House aide says it’s possible that Russia could invade eastern Ukraine, and even U.S. military assistance would be unlikely to prevent it.

Deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken says Russia seems to be trying intimidate Ukrainians by massing thousands of troops along the border.

But Blinken also tells CNN’s “State of the Union” that “it’s possible they are preparing to move in.”

He says the U.S. is looking at providing military assistance to Ukraine. But he also says “it’s very unlikely to change Russia’s calculus and prevent an invasion.”

Russia’s defense chief has told Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that Russia had no intention of crossing into Ukrainian territory.

Blinken says economic penalties are working to isolate Russia.

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