Obama says Crimea separation would violate law

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Secretary of State John Kerry talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during a meeting to discuss the Ukraine crisis, Thursday, March 6, 2014, at the Conference on International Support to Libya, in Rome. It is the second meeting in as many days between Kerry and Lavrov, who met in Paris on Wednesday to talk about the crisis over the crisis in Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula. (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says a referendum for Ukraine's Crimea region to separate and become part of Russia would violate international law.

Local government officials in Crimea on Thursday set a March 16 for the referendum vote.

Obama told reporters at the White House that would also violate the Ukrainian constitution.