Kerry to Russia: Back Off in Ukraine, or Else

Secretary of state says additional sanctions may be coming

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Apr 24, 2014 6:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – Secretary of State John Kerry is accusing Russia of failing to live up to commitments it made to ease the crisis in Ukraine. In unusually blunt language, Kerry said today that unless Moscow takes immediate steps to de-escalate the situation, Washington will have no choice but to impose additional sanctions. He said It would be a "grave" and "expensive mistake." His comments come amid an increasingly bitter war of words over who is to blame for the crisis in Ukraine that is becoming steadily more violent.

Kerry said Ukraine "is taking tangible steps" to implement a deal hammered out a week ago by the US, Russia, the EU, and Ukraine, CNN reports. "Russia has refused to take a single concrete step in the right direction. It is clear that only one side, one country, is keeping its word." In general, the US says Russia is fomenting unrest and separatist sentiment in eastern Ukraine following its annexation of the strategic Crimean Peninsula. Russia accuses the US of encouraging a pro-Western government in Kiev to adopt anti-Russian policies. (Read about a US journalist released by pro-Russia gunmen in Ukraine.)

John Kerry speaks about the situation with Ukraine and Russia from the State Department in Washington, Thursday, April 24, 2014.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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