Window closing for Russia to change its course in Ukraine, Kerry says

Window closing for Russia to change its course in Ukraine, Kerry says
# 25 April 2014 01:47 (UTC +04:00)

In unusually blunt language, Kerry said on Thursday that unless Moscow does not fall in line with Washington over Ukraine, the US will have no choice but to impose additional sanctions.

"The window to change course is closing," he told reporters in Washington. "(Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin and Russia face a choice. If Russia chooses the path of de-escalation ... all of us will welcome it. But if Russia does not, the world will make sure that the costs for Russia will only grow."

He warned Russia that not changing course will be a “grave and expensive mistake.”

Kerry also accused Moscow of direct involvement in the recent escalation of the situation in eastern and southern Ukraine.

In addition, he said that Moscow has launched a "full-throated effort to actively sabotage the democratic process" in Ukraine.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the top US diplomat claimed that Ukraine's interim authorities had from "day one" kept their word after agreeing to the deal in Geneva.

Kerry’s statement came hours after Russia began military exercises close to the border with Ukraine.

Moscow said the drills are in response to Kiev's intensified crackdown on pro-Russia protesters.

It also said other parties have not done anything to de-escalate the crisis.

Moscow called on the US to force Kiev to halt its operation in Ukraine's eastern and southern regions. But, interim authorities in Kiev said they are ready to fight Russia.

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