Washington, April 13 (QNA) – US Secretary of State John Kerry accused
Russia of organizing attacks on government offices in eastern Ukraine
and warned that there would be new US economic sanctions unless
Russia took steps to ease tension.
In a phone conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov,
Kerry “expressed strong concerns that attacks today by armed
militants in eastern Ukraine were orchestrated and synchronized,
similar to previous attack in eastern Ukraine and Crimea,” the State
Kerry left no doubt that he believed Russia was behind the assaults,
saying that the militants “were equipped with specialized Russian
weapons and the same uniforms as those worn by the Russian forces
that invaded Crimea.”
“The Secretary made clear that if Russia did not take steps to
deescalate in eastern Ukraine and move its troops back from Ukraine’s
border, there would be additional consequences,” the statement said.
Attackers targeted police headquarters in the city of Donetsk and a
police station and another office in the nearby city of Slavyansk.
There were also reports of shooting incidents in other cities in
eastern Ukraine, an industrial region with a large ethnic Russian
The United States has already imposed sanctions on a number of key
Russian officials and a bank with strong ties to the Russian
government elite. The Obama administration has threatened broader
economic sanctions as well, but it has held back in hope of first
winning support from the European Union, which has strong economic
ties and greater leverage with Moscow.
The Russian government is demanding that the interim government in
Kiev, which took over after President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted,
grant Ukraine’s regions more autonomy. Such a move would give Russia
greater leverage with Ukraine, and probably prevent it from moving
decisively into an alliance with Western Europe. (QNA)