US to consider new Russia sanctions
WASHINTON is considering “serious sanctions” against Russia following the recent events in the eastern Ukraine conflict, US Secretary of State John Kerry has said.
During a visit to London, Mr Kerry said Mr Obama would make a decision on the options before him in the coming days.
He accused Moscow of “craven behaviour” in its support for the rebels, undermining a ceasefire.
But a Kremlin spokesman said sanctions would not help solve Ukraine’s crisis.
The ceasefire, agreed this month in Minsk, has often seemed near collapse.
However, a prisoner exchange has been carried out on the front line – the first stage of one of the key points of the deal.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko tweeted that 139 Ukrainian troops had been freed. Media reports say 52 rebels were exchanged for them.
Ukrainian officials said one more soldier would be freed in the coming days.
Speaking before talks with UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond in London, Mr Kerry sharply criticised Moscow’s role in the crisis.
“Russia has engaged in an absolutely brazen and cynical process over these last days,” he said.
“We’re not going to sit there and be part of this kind of extraordinarily craven behaviour at the expense of the sovereignty and integrity of a nation.”
At a news conference later, he said he was confident additional steps would be taken.
“In the next few days I anticipate that President Obama will evaluate the choices that are in front of him and will make his decision,” he said.
“If this failure continues, make no mistake, there will be further consequences including consequences that will place added strains on Russia’s already troubled economy.”
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