The United States is ready to impose additional sanctions against Russia over the situation in Ukraine, US Vice President Joseph Biden said Thursday during a phone conversation with Ukrainian leader Pyotr Poroshenko.
"Vice President Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko today to discuss the latest situation in eastern Ukraine," according to the White House-provided readout of the call.
The two leaders discussed diplomatic efforts "to pursue a sustainable ceasefire that would be respected by the separatists and fully supported by Russia, and would allow for the implementation of the peace plan laid out in Poroshenko's inaugural address."
The West calls federalization supporters in Ukraine's embattled Southeast "separatists".
"The Vice President underscored that the United States remained focused on Russia's actions, not its words. The Vice President noted the United States is prepared to impose further costs on Russia" should Moscow fail to withdraw "its ongoing support for the separatists," which, the US claims, includes "the provision of heavy weapons and materiel across the border."
Western nations have subjected some Russian officials and companies to sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, following Crimea's incorporation by Russia in mid-March.
The West, led by the United States, has repeatedly threatened Russia with further punitive measures, including economic ones, for incorporation of Crimea and what the West claimed was Moscow's alleged involvement in protests of federalization supporters in Ukraine's Southeast.
Russia has repeatedly dismissed Western allegations that it could in any way be involved in protests in the Southeast of Ukraine, which started after Crimea refused to recognize the authorities propelled to power during a coup in Ukraine in February and reunified with Russia in mid-March after some 60 years as part of Ukraine.
Moscow has rejected the threats of broader sanctions saying the language of penalties is counterproductive and will strike back at Western countries.