WASHINGTON, April 23 (RIA Novosti) – US Secretary of State John Kerry in a phone conversation with Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov suggested Moscow should publicly urge pro-federalization protesters in southeastern Ukraine to disarm, according to a statement issued by the US State Department Wednesday.
"He [Kerry] urged Russia to tone down escalatory rhetoric, engage diplomatically in the east with the OSCE and Ukrainian government, and issue public statements calling for those occupying buildings to disarm and stand down in exchange for amnesty," the statement said.
Kerry added that unless the steps to implement Geneva accords are taken, tougher sanctions against Russia might be imposed.
Earlier Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that in a phone conversation, which occurred late Tuesday upon an initiative of the US, Sergei Lavrov underlined the necessity of Kiev taking urgent measures to implement Geneva agreements. Moscow also noted that Kerry spoke of Ukrainian authorities announcing some steps but did not mention facts, proving these statements to be true to life.
US Secretary of State had a phone talk with Ukraine’s interim prime-minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk Tuesday. According to Kerry, Kiev is taking measures to de-escalate the situation in the country.
In a bid to de-escalate the ongoing conflict, top diplomats from Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union approved a statement on April 17 calling on the sides in Ukraine to refrain from violence, extremism and provocations, disarm militants and launch a national dialogue on constitutional reform.
Lavrov earlier said Kiev fails to follow the Geneva accords as Ukrainian authorities continue to arrest activists in southeastern regions of the country and violate the rights of journalists instead of implementing the amnesty agreed upon during Geneva summit.