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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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February 21st, 2014
06:31 PM ET

White House official: U.S. made direct threats to Ukraine officials, oligarchs

(CNN) – Ukrainian leaders, opposition figures, European Union representatives hashed out an agreement Friday to hopefully end the bloodshed in Ukraine.

But where was the U.S. and Russia?

The deal was the topic of discussion when President Barack Obama called his counterpart, Russian President Vladimir Putin Friday. The U.S. did denounce the violence, and Russia's influence is deeply woven into the conflict in Ukraine, but neither country played a public role in sealing this peace agreement.

But the White House was closely involved, according to deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken.

Asked how much the U.S. had to do with this agreement, Blinken said "a lot."

Russia sent in a mediator, but he opted not to sign the EU-brokered deal.

"I don't think this would have happened without the coordinated efforts of the United States and Europe," said Blinken.

The administration made clear what the consequences of continued violence would be, Blinken says.

"And I think that had an important impact in getting people to move," said Blinken. "We've already issued some visa restrictions on those who were responsible for the violence and repression."

"We also told them that other steps could be forthcoming, and I think that had a real impact on their thinking. Not just folks in the government, but some of the strong oligarchs who support the government," he said.

For more of our interview with White House deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken, check out the video above.

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