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

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

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March 10th, 2014
07:00 PM ET

Foreign policy expert: We need a 'Plan B' for Ukraine

(CNN) – Ukrainian interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is coming to the U.S. and will meet with President Barack Obama on Wednesday, as upheaval in Ukraine has spiraled into an increasingly tense dispute between Russia and the West.

But it seems like Ukraine's Crimea is already lost, as former defense secretary Robert Gates told Fox News Sunday; Russian President Vladimir Putin is likely not going to withdraw Russian troops from there the southern peninsula.

So what is the end game now?

"It's a little bit too negative to say that Crimea is lost," said president of the Council on Foreign Relations Richard Haass. "We've got to give it a little more time. For all we know, Russians are going to feel the effects of the sanctions, of some of their diplomatic isolation."

But, adds Haass, "there's got to be a lot of emphasis, if you will, on Plan B, which is ... to try to prevent the situation from deteriorating, which essentially would mean discouraging the Russians from any way extending their position inside the country."

The Russian foreign ministry condemned lawlessness in eastern Ukraine, and accused the West of being silent for what is happening to Russian citizens.

"That's ominous," Haass said, calling the move a manufactured pretext for Russia to gain more land.

"One could imagine it being used again, and that would, in a sense, take this from a serious problem to a full-fledged crisis. I think that would be a serious escalation," said Haass.

For more of our interview with foreign policy expert Richard Haass, check out the video above.

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