With a Malaysian flag behind him, President Barack Obama speaks during a town hall meeting at Malaya University in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sunday, April 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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Pro-Russian militants in Ukraine Sunday presented a captured team of international observers as "prisoners of war," raising the stakes in the crisis as US President Barack Obama warned Moscow against "provocation".The international community is on edge, with one Western diplomat raising the possibility of an invasion in the coming days by Russia, which has some 40,000 troops massed on the border.Speaking in Asia, Obama called for global unity as Europe and the US prepare fresh sanctions against Moscow expected to come into force as early as Monday. The rebels have accused the team -- which included five Ukrainians, one of whom was later released -- of being "NATO spies" and said they would only be freed as part of a prisoner swap.Obama stressed the need for a unified response to isolate Russia.The Ukraine crisis escalated after Russia refused to accept the legitimacy of Kiev's new pro-EU government, which came to power in February after four months of street protests forced the ouster of the Kremlin-backed president, Viktor Yanukovych.While Obama has ruled out sending US or NATO forces into Ukraine, Washington has begun deploying 600 US troops to bolster NATO's defences in nearby eastern European states.
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