AMSTERDAM — US President Barack Obama said Monday that despite Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula away from Ukraine he does not view Europe as a battleground between the East and the West.

In an interview with the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant published ahead of his arrival in Amsterdam Monday, Obama said his message to European leaders is that Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to understand the economic and political consequences of his actions in Ukraine.

Russia’s actions have alarmed Europeans, but many European Union leaders worry about actions that would hurt their economic and energy reliance on Russia.

Obama concedes the sanctions he has threatened against Russian economic sectors could have worldwide effect.

Obama said: “If Russia continues to escalate the situation, we need to be prepared to impose a greater cost.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.