Calling on Russia to use its "considerable influence" with separatists in eastern Ukraine to ensure the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crash site is secured, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said there is not a "shred of evidence" Russia seeks to end the violence and bloodshed in eastern Ukraine.
Speaking Tuesday during a joint appearance in Washington with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, Kerry accused the separatists of showing an "appalling disregard for human decency" by blocking access to the site in eastern Ukraine where the airliner crashed July 17.
Kerry said Russian President Vladimir Putin "can make a huge difference here if he chooses to," adding that the violence in Ukraine "has been going on for far too long."
The U.S. secretary of state also said there is "clear evidence" of rocket and artillery fire from Russian territory into Ukraine.
For his part, Klimkin stressed the importance of reaching a cease-fire with the pro-Russian rebels with the aim of restoring Ukraine's territorial integrity.
Their comments came as tensions between Russia and Ukraine escalated, with Moscow accusing Kyiv of a cross-border attack and committing "war crimes" in eastern Ukraine.
Russia's Foreign Ministry claimed Tuesday that Ukrainian troops fired at personnel manning a Russian customs post on the border. It said the facility was damaged in the attack but did not mention casualties. The ministry called on Ukraine to stop firing into Russia and to ensure the safety of monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Klimkin addressed Russia’s accusations in general, saying that Ukraine, in line with its international obligations, does not engage in cross-border firing, even when provoked to do so.