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Why the Ukraine matters

CRIMEA -- The situation in Ukraine could impact all off Europe.

Kristine Frazao tells us what's at stake in the current crisis.
And what action lawmakers want The White House to take.

Now a new poll of more than 16-hundred people in Russia finds they blame the west for the troubles in Ukraine.
Secretary of State, John Kerry, visits the country tomorrow.
As national correspondent Kristine Frazao explains, he's walking into another Russia versus the US tug of war.

Russia is showing no signs of backing down, even as world leaders threaten sanctions after the country sent troops into Ukraine.

The Pentagon is suspending exercises and other activities with the Russian military because of their involvement.
A spokesperson says the US has put all military-to-military engagements on hold, including meetings, port visits and planned conferences.
Just tonight, the US suspended all upcoming trade and investment with Russia as well.
Act of aggression; that's what many US officials are now calling the presence of Russian troops in Crimea, an autonomous, mostly pro-Russian state within Ukraine.
One expert called it "the most  seismic geopolitical events since 9-11" and a significant east versus west battle.

Jim Goldgeier/Dean of the  School of International Service, American University
"International law has been violated.  the territorial integrity and sovereignty of a country have been violated and the united states should care."

American University's Jim Goldgeier says this could hinder the US goal of nuclear non-profileration on a global scale

Jim Goldgeier/Dean of the  School of International Service, American University
"In exchange for Ukraine giving up nuclear weapons, the united states Britain and Russia guaranteed Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

As Secretary of State Kerry prepares to meet face to face with Ukraine's new leaders, he had strong words for Russian President, Vladamir Putin.

John Kerry/Secretary of State
"Russia will isolate itself on a global stage that it just spent 60-billion dollars through the Olympics to try to present a different face on."

Geographically, there a number of gas pipelines key to supplying Europe run through Ukraine. If Putin and Russia control Ukraine, they could control how much of Europe is powered.

Here in Washington, many lawmakers are weighing in on what to do next, with some  urging President Obama to take strong and immediate action.

Lindsay Graham
"President Obama needs to do something. How about this, suspend Russian membership in the G8 and the G20 at least for a year starting right now."

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Americans and their supporters are  protesting the violence.

New York/Sunday
"It's important for Americans to understand what's going on. For those of us old enough to remember the Soviet Union, no one wants a return to the Cold War, and that, potentially, is exactly what we have."

Putin's action seen as a clear illustration of his vision for the future.
The US and Europe now deciding not if but how to fight back.
In Washington, I'm Kristine Frazao.