U.S. fears over Russian forces on Ukrainian border

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Secretary Kerry pointed to the sanctions if Russia continues to take escalatory steps

Secretary Kerry pointed to the sanctions if Russia continues to take escalatory steps

ANKARA – The U.S. is concerned about the massing of a large number of Russian forces on the Ukrainian border, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the margins of the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands on Monday.

“Treatment of Ukrainian military forces, including many Ukrainian service members who are missing” is also source of concern, Kerry said at the meeting.

Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea region last week, triggering the United States' and European Union’s declaration of sanctions against some Russian officials. Russian troops now control the whole Crimea region, meanwhile the fate of some Ukrainian troops is not known.

“Secretary Kerry pointed to the sanctions if Russia continues to take escalatory steps,” U.S. State Department’s Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters.

Harif also said that Kerry urged Foreign Minister Lavrov to deescalate the situation and pursue a dialogue with the Ukrainian government. Later at the day, Lavrov met Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia for the first time.

Another main topic discussed at the meeting was the completion of the Syrian chemical weapons elimination effort. “Secretary Kerry expressed the urgency of Syria accelerating efforts to fulfill its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and UN Security resolution 2118,” Harif said.

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