Russian President Vladimir Putin told United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday that Moscow expects a “clear condemnation” of Ukraine’s military actions in the eastern region, which Putin said have made the crisis “significantly worse.”
“The conversation addressed the crisis in Ukraine, which has grown significantly worse due to the use of force initiated by the Kiev authorities in the southeast of the country,” the Kremlin said in a readout of the call. “In particular, Mr. Putin stressed that the Russian side expects the United Nations and the international community to clearly condemn these anti-constitutional actions.”
Armed forces in Ukraine launched a “special operation” Tuesday against pro-Russian separatists in the eastern regions of the country. The Ukrainian government said it had retaken control of a small airport that had been occupied by the militiamen. It was the first sign of Ukrainian military action against the pro-Russian separatists who had taken over government buildings in at least nine eastern Ukrainian cities.
The U.S. has openly accused Moscow of being behind the militiamen, a charge Putin denied on a phone call with President Barack Obama on Monday.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday the U.S. is preparing additional sanctions on Russian officials in the wake of their latest provocations. Such moves, she added, are unlikely to be announced before Thursday, when diplomats from the U.S., Russia, Ukraine, and the European Union are scheduled to meet in Geneva to discuss steps toward de-escalation.
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