President Obama is praising the courage of the Ukrainian people in standing up for democracy and self-destiny.  In a White House meeting with new Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Obama urged Congress to quickly wrap-up an aid package for Ukraine.  Obama said the U.S. is continuing to pressure Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw troops from the Crimean  region. 

Obama said the incursion is a violation of international law and an infringement on Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty.  The President also said the U.S. and allies completely reject a planned referendum in Crimea to join Russia.  The Ukrainian prime minister said his country is poised to deliver "real changes" as soon as Putin removes Russian troops from Crimea.  He delivered a message to Putin, saying  --  "Tear down this wall" of intimidation and military oppression. 

Meantime, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is sending a Ukraine aid bill to the full Senate.  The measure also authorizes U.S. sanctions on Russia for deploying military troops into the Crimean region of Ukraine.  The committee vote was 14-3.  The legislation includes one-billion dollars in energy loan guarantees to Ukraine.  The House recently approved the loan guarantees but has not yet approved any sanctions. (Metro Networks Inc)