woo, two world leaders spent a day in an escalating war of words. President Obama and Russian president Vladimir Putin. Raising the heat over the issue of Ukraine. What is Putin's next move and what... See More
woo, two world leaders spent a day in an escalating war of words. President Obama and Russian president Vladimir Putin. Raising the heat over the issue of Ukraine. What is Putin's next move and what is happening behind the scenes at the white house tonight. ABC's chief white house correspondent Jonathan Karl has been talking to his sources and starts us off right now. Reporter: Behind a smiling Putin today at sochi at the opening ceremonies of the paralympic games, his grip tightening on his prize crimea. Russia ignoring pleas to halt its invasion. Warning America to back off. President Obama's latest hour-long call to Putin achieved little. Putin may have Obama in a bind, not just on this crisis in Ukraine but on the biggest foreign policy facing the president, including the bloody civil war in Syria and the rush to stop a rising nuclear Iran and in those cases, Putin is a central player, capable of helping or hurting America. Obama is seeking sanctions for those responsible for Russia's military incursion into Ukraine, but the white house refuses to say whether Putin himself will be targeted. Rogue operators in Russia are doing this. It sounds like actions that would be taken against president Putin. What I'm saying the executive order doesn't name individuals or entities. . Do you feel that Putin is responsible for what's going on in crimea. Reporter: One senior official told ABC news, Putin himself will likely not be targeted. President Obama's long worked to improve relations with Putin, but all too often he's been met with cold resistance. Just today, the defense secretary asked to see a Pentagon study on trying to read Putin's body language, its author said that his walking style may provide insight into how he operates. His walking style shows a man struggling to operate. U.s. Officials believe there are now 20,000 Russian troops on the ground in crimea and that number is holding stead the Russians are dug in, Diane, and they are not backing down. All right, thanks to Jonathan Karl.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.