Ukraine Tensions Hit Boiling Point as Obama Confronts PutinIn a one-on-one conversation Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama personally warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that unless an acceptable peace deal is reached in talks scheduled to be held in Minsk today, Russia will face increased costs for its invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and its continued support of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. The conversation took place a day after Obama confirmed that he has asked aides to provide him with options for dealing with the ongoing violence in Ukraine, including the possibility of providing weapons to the Ukrainian military, which is currently battling separatist forces that Western nations believe Russia is supplying with both advanced equipment and soldiers.  While Obama has remained equivocal about whether or not the U.S. would arm Ukraine, members of Congress have been increasingly adamant about the need to provide Ukraine with, at minimum, defensive weaponry. On Tuesday, the top Republican and top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee jointly sponsored legislation that would provide the Ukrainian government in Kiev with $1 billion in weapons and other support to fend off “foreign aggressors.” Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) and Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) jointly proposed the measure, which is likely to find substantial support in the House, where members have already voted in favor of providing military assistance to the government in Kiev. Although he may hesitate to arm Ukraine, Obama is unequivocal about giving any credence to Moscow’s claims that it is not involved in the Ukrainian conflict. In remarks Monday, he said that Russian troops and arms are already in Ukraine and continue to flow there. “These are the facts,” he said. More