U.S. President Barack
Obama will press European
allies on Friday to impose more sanctions if Russia steps
up action in Ukraine, while a cut in its credit rating sent a
strong reminder to Moscow of the economic consequences of its involvement in
said he would seek to make sure key European leaders shared his view that Russia had failed to live up to the terms of a Ukraine peace accord in Geneva earlier this
month, under which Russia, the United States, Ukraine and the European Union
agreed to work to disarm illegal groups.
government launched further military operations against some of the pro-Russian
separatists who have seized government buildings across eastern Ukraine, having
killed up to five rebels on Thursday.
foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, accused authorities in Kiev of waging
"war on their own people".
is a bloody crime, and those who pushed the army to do that will pay, I am
sure, and will face justice," Lavrov said.
also paying for the dispute, with heavy capital flight prompting credit rating
agency Standard & Poor's to cut the country's ratings on Friday. That in
turn forced Russia's central bank to raise its key interest rate to reverse a
drop in the ruble.
Moscow was committed to implementing the Geneva agreement but accused
Washington of distorting it with "one-sided demands". However,
Russia's Defence Ministry said it was ready for "unbiased and
constructive" talks with the United States to stabilize the situation.
accuses Moscow of sending agents to coordinate the unrest in the east, as it
did before seizing Ukraine's Crimea region in February, is planning to call
allies in Europe later in the day.
window to change course is closing," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
warned Russia late on Thursday, citing Obama's earlier comments that Washington
was ready to impose new sanctions, on top of those imposed after Crimea was
Russia was using propaganda to hide what it was trying to do in eastern Ukraine
- destabilize the region and undermine next month's Ukrainian presidential
elections - and decried its "threatening movement" of troops up to
Russia continues in this direction, it will not just be a grave mistake, it
will be an expensive mistake," Kerry said.
President Vladimir Putin has scoffed at the sanctions so far imposed, which
have been limited to travel bans and overseas assets freezes on individuals.
for the full article from Reuters.