TODAY   |  March 22, 2014

How does the situation in Ukraine affect the U.S.?

The United States is economically and politically linked with all of Europe. That means what’s happening in Ukraine could ultimately hurt the U.S. and its economy. NBC’s Kristen Welker reports.

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>>> annexation of crimea . if you think what happens there doesn't affect us in the united states , you might want to think again. kristen is outside the white house . good morning.

>> good morning to you. what's happening in ukraine actually does and could ultimately hurt the united states and its economy. all this is the backdrop as president barack obama heads to europe tomorrow to meet with allies.

>> president barack obama heads to the netherlands tomorrow for a nuclear security summit. now his more pressing goal, dealing with the escalating crisis in ukraine . this week russia an ex ed crimea , a part of ukraine , a move the white house calls illegal on friday, national security advisor susan rice said the u.s. could impose more sanctions if russia continues. today russian troops at the order of vladimir putin are massing along parts of the ukraicre ukrainian border.

>> russians are having exercises. given their past, we're watching with skepticism.

>> in russia , fireworks as they celebrated the return of crimea , 60 years after the soviet union gave it away. the white house says it won't resort to military force , only more sanctions.

>> further escalation will result in further isolation and higher costs.

>> foreign policy experts warn further conflict could have an impact at home.

>> if what happens in the ukraine becomes precursor to more moves and instability, that's going to affect the united states sooner or later .

>> from wall street to main street , americans are escape cooing cooing -- are keeping an eye on this.

>> neither are looking for a military fight. miscalculation on either side could lead to one. if this conflict continue, it could also hurt the united states standing a broad.

>> thanks very much. you're following the first lady's trip to china. th what is on the plan this weekend?

>> she is meeting with students. while speaking to college students earlier in beijing today, she said open access to information especially online is a universal right. mrs. obama touched on the missing malaysian airlines flight telling the students the u.s. is offering as many resources as possible to the search and sends thoughts and prayers to the families. the first lady is on a week long trip to china a, first to that country. she brought her two daughters as well as her mother. on friday, mrs. obama met with china's president and first lady. white house officials say her trip is into focussing on education, person to person outreach, not as much as on diplomacy but also a prelude to president barack obama 's meeting with china's president next week in the netherlands. it's a sign the world's two largest economies are trying to strengthen. mrs. obama has been getting big fashion reviews in