Kerry warns Russia over Ukraine crisis

Kerry warns Russia over Ukraine crisis

Mon, 07 Apr 2014 22:39:36 GMT

US Secretary of State John Kerry has threatened Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with more economic sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.

The US State Department said on Monday that Kerry told Lavrov in a telephone call that Washington was watching events in eastern Ukraine with “great concern.”

Kerry has “called on Russia to publicly disavow the activities of separatists, saboteurs and provocateurs” in Ukraine, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

The secretary “made clear that any further Russian effort to destabilize Ukraine will incur further costs for Russia,” she said.

The White House also warned Russia against intervening in eastern Ukraine and threatening further sanctions. White House spokesman Jay Carney said if Russia moves into eastern Ukraine either overtly or covertly, it would be a very serious escalation.

The warnings came after pro-Russian citizens of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk declared independence from Kiev, announcing the creation of the independent People’s Republic of Donetsk.

The citizens are now in control of several regional state offices, including the state administration building. They’ve appealed to Russia to send peacekeeping forces into the region.

The protesters have urged a referendum to be held by May 11 to pave the ground for joining Russia.

Last month, Ukraine’s Crimea region rejoined Russia after residents in the peninsula voted in a referendum to break away from Ukraine.

Washington has already imposed targeted sanctions on a Russian bank and officials in Putin’s inner circle over the tension.

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