Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.
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(CNN) – Republican leaders are calling for the administration to provide lethal aid to the Ukrainian military.
But lethal aid "is not what is going to make a lot of difference right now," says White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes. "You're not going to bring the Ukrainian military into some kind of parity with the Russian military in the coming weeks."
The White House is sticking to sanctions against Russia, which the U.S. has accused of fomenting instability in Ukraine.
"We're focused on what we can do to make a difference. And that's a plan that we're pursuing with the Europeans; that's imposing costs through sanctions. And we are seeking to help the Ukrainians reach certain needs through our non-lethal assistance," said Rhodes.
Ukrainian officials say they have photographic proof that Russian forces are operating in eastern Ukraine. But Rhodes said that is not exactly an act of war, unlike, say, Russian troops moving across the border.
"What we're seeing is more asymmetrical means by Russia, reaching into Ukraine, through their contacts, through their connections with these groups. Some of this photographic evidence confirms what we've been saying for weeks," says Ben Rhodes.
For more of our interview with deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, including what role the U.S. played in Yemeni forces attacking suspected terrorists over the weekend, check out the video above.