Washington (CNN) – For weeks, the White House has on an almost daily basis applauded the Ukrainian government’s restraint in dealing with what many see as an attempted Russian takeover of more than just Crimea, repeatedly stating there should not be a military solution.
The Obama administration reiterated that sentiment on Tuesday, while also supporting Ukraine's movement of troops toward the worst trouble zones in the eastern part of the country.
Russia has created a situation that is "untenable" and "the Ukrainian government has to respond to assert a return to order and protect its citizens," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
Carney agreed the United States sees the moves as appropriate and even necessary within Ukraine, adding more than once that U.S. officials "urge the Ukrainian government to move forward gradually, cautiously."
The White House stopped short of agreeing with those who view Ukraine as being on the brink of civil war, while also calling militant takeovers of government buildings volatile and dangerous.
Carney said U.S. military assistance, in the form of non-lethal aid only, is not being ruled out.
"We are looking at ways to support Ukraine," he said.
Another option being actively considered is stronger sanctions against Russia.
The White House is evaluating potential new actions while still "looking forward" to the talks in Geneva on Thursday that will include foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union.
What progress, if any, may well trigger the next round of coordinated action between the United States and Europe.
Carney described Monday's phone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Barack Obama as "lengthy" with Obama offering a "clear and firm enunciation of views."
It appears, however, the conversation made little to no progress on forging a common ground, except that Russia will participate in the Geneva talks.
So, what did the United States take away from the President’s latest talk with Putin, who the administration believes is behind the unrest in Ukraine?
"Hope," Carney said, that Russia will come to the table in Geneva and begin to offer a glimpse of a diplomatic way out of the crisis.