Russia-backed rebels are seen lined up in front of tanks near Novoazovsk, eastern Ukraine, Oct. 21, 2015. According to the latest U.N. figures, more than 9,000 people have been killed and 21,000 injured in the conflict in easter Ukraine since it bega
Russia-backed rebels are seen lined up in front of tanks near Novoazovsk, eastern Ukraine, Oct. 21, 2015. According to the latest U.N. figures, more than 9,000 people have been killed and 21,000 injured in the conflict in easter Ukraine since it bega

MOSCOW - The United States says it is disturbed by Russia's decision to recognize passports and other documents issued by rebel authorities in eastern Ukraine.
 
The recognition, in an order signed by President Vladimir Putin that was announced Saturday, "is alarming and contradicts the agreed-upon goals of the Minsk Agreement," the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine said Sunday on Twitter, referring to a two-year-old agreement on ending the fighting in eastern Ukraine. Russia was a signatory of the agreement.
 
More than 9,800 people have been killed in fighting between government forces and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine since April 2014. 
 
President Donald Trump's repeated statements on improving relations with Russia had led to speculation that Washington would soften its stance on Russia's interference in Ukraine.