News / Europe

US Warns of More 'Costs' if Russia Fails to Help Stem Ukraine Crisis

  • Pro-Russian troops prepare to travel in a tank on a road near the town of Yanakiyevo, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, June 20, 2014.
  • People carry their belongings as they walk to cross the border into Russia at the Ukrainian-Russian border checkpoint in Izvaryne, eastern Ukraine, June 20, 2014.
  • A man examines a destroyed building after fighting between Ukrainian and pro-Russian fighters in the city of Artyomovsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, June 20, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian fighters wave a white flag to start a handover of the bodies of Ukrainian troops killed in a plane shot down near Luhansk, at a check point in the village of Karlivka near Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, June 18, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian fighters wait for representatives of the Ukrainian troops at a checkpoint in the village of Karlivka for the handover of the bodies of Ukrainian troops who died in a plane shot down near Luhansk, Ukraine, June 18, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian separatists stand guard at a check-point as a car drives past outside Luhansk, Ukraine, June 18, 2014.
  • Miners, one of them carrying a sign with the name of the mine Trudovskaya, march in support of peace in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, June 18, 2014.
  • Residents collect water at a pumping station in the eastern Ukranian city of Slovyansk, June 17, 2014.
  • A woman walks past portraits of protesters who were killed in clashes with police in February in Independence Square in Kyiv, June 18, 2014.
  • People take part in a rally to press demands for parliament to be dissolved and early elections outside the assembly in Kyiv, June 17, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian fighters walk past remnants of a downed Ukrainian army aircraft Il-76 at the airport near Luhansk, Ukraine, June 14, 2014.
Developments in Ukraine
VOA News
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said the United States will work with its partners to impose "further costs on Russia" if it does not use its influence to help halt separatist violence in eastern Ukraine.
The White House said Biden spoke by telephone Wednesday with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, and that the two promised to "stay in touch" ahead of a meeting of European Union leaders next week.
The U.S. and EU imposed sanctions against a group of Russian individuals and companies after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in March.
Pro-Russian separatists have for months mounted a rebellion in eastern Ukraine, which the United Nations said Wednesday has involved killings, torture and abductions to instill a "climate of fear."
Gianni Magazzeni, a U.N. human rights office official, said the situation has created challenges for those caught up in the fighting.
"This has to so with access to public services whether it's schools, medical services, whether it's food, whether it's electricity, water. But it's also a question of a total breakdown in law and order, the inability to get protection when it comes to ill treatment, detention, abductions and possible also torture and executions that are, and we are reporting, are taking place in this pocket areas in the East in the course of the past month," said Magazzeni.
U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay urged armed separatists to stop actions she says are leading to misery and destruction in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.  She said "the time has come to put down the guns and talk."
President Poroshenko has proposed instituting a unilateral cease-fire as part of a peace plan to address the conflict.
Russian news agencies quoted Poroshenko on Wednesday as saying the cease-fire would give separatist fighters the opportunity to disarm and those who want to leave the country a chance to get out.

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