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According to Rhodes, up until now sanctions have been the most effective way to exert pressure on Russia in connection with the Ukrainian conflict. Increasing the number of weapons to "fight back" is not a proper response to the conflict, Rhodes said.

At the same time, a report by the New York Times that the United States is considering the possibility of supplying Ukraine with defensive weapons was not explicitly refuted by Rhodes. He said that U.S. President Barack Obama has instructed all his advisors to consider "every opportunity." Rhodes said that Washington prefers to support a de-escalation of the conflict by peaceful means.

Rhodes also stressed the importance of a visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the White House scheduled for February 9. The chancellor is the most important partner of the United States in the Ukrainian issue, he said.