(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a joint news conference Friday in the White House Rose Garden. A large focus was placed on the escalating crisis in Ukraine.

FOX News Radio's Jared Halpern reports from Washington:

A unified front from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Obama -- both leaders in the White House Rose Garden telling Russia it can avoid further sanctions.

(President Obama) "But we've also been clear that if the Russian leadership does not change course it will face increasing costs, as well as growing isolation."

Those costs would include sanctions on parts of the Russian economy, like energy sectors and the arms trade, and would be unavoidable, Merkel adds, if Russia tries to disrupt Ukraine's presidential election set for the 25th of this month.

In Washington, Jared Halpern, FOX News Radio.

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

LISTEN to FOX News Radio's special coverage of the joint news conference:



A major assault against pro-Russian forces by the military in Ukraine. Russian President Putin saying the offensive has destroyed the last hope for the implementation of the Geneva agreements designed to defuse the crisis.

FOX News Radio's Jessica Golloher reports from Donetsk, Ukraine:

Pro-Russian rebels are digging in their heels in Slavyansk, just north of here.  Local residents cutting down trees to enforce barricades and separatists arming themselves with more weaponry after a pre-dawn raid by Ukraine's military meant to root them out. Rebels shot down two Ukrainian military helicopters, killing both pilots.  Ukraine's security service says that a surface to air missile launcher was used, refuting claims that the separatists are civilians who took up arms.  One of the rebels was reportedly killed too. In Donetsk, Ukraine, Jessica Golloher, FOX News Radio.