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By Tracie Potts
It's like a very complicated global chess game. Trying to figure out what Russian President Putin will do next, and how to stop him. But it's no game - the conflict in Crimea has turned deadly, and our allies are worried.
Experts say other former soviet nations should worry. "Tomorrow they will say 'Oh, I think Moldova is lost' because I think Moldova is next," said Georgia President, Mikheil Saakashvili.
"There is no question that if we have a rupture in our relationship with Russia, there are going to be costs elsewhere in the world," said Susan Glasser, Author.
Calling Russia's annexation of Crimea a "land grab," Vice President Biden assured Baltic leaders the U.S. will step up air patrols over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania: "Our commitment is absolutely unwavering and unshakable," said Vice President Joe Biden.
The Crimea conflict has turned deadly. One Ukrainian soldier was killed.
The U.S. hopes economic sanctions will stop a defiant President Putin from pushing further into Ukraine.
The Administration insists those sanctions affect more than just 11 people's bank accounts. "It affects the ability of institutions in the United States to do business with those people," said Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.
What is still unclear is whether that alone will be enough. Many experts say, no. "But it cannot stop there. We have to stop Russian banks from doing business outside of Russia," said Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor.
Back in Washington, there's the political cost... For a President now focused on what's happening outside the U.S.. "Every day, every moment that he's working on a foreign policy issue, no matter how pressing, is a moment that he's not focusing on the economy in the minds of people," said Former Obama Advisor, David Axelrod.
But our economy could be linked to what's happening in Ukraine. Some of our NATO Allies have strong economic ties to Russia. If Europe's economy is shaken, that could have a ripple effect on markets here.