(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) The US has urged Russia to take "concrete steps" to help implement the Geneva agreement, it was announced Monday.
State Department Spokesperson Jennifer Psaki told reporters that, "in a phone call with (Russian) Foreign Minister (Sergei) Lavrov this morning, the Secretary (of State John Kerry) urged Russia to take concrete steps to help implement the Geneva agreement, including publicly calling on separatists to vacate illegal buildings and checkpoints, accept amnesty and address their grievances politically." She added that Kerry also called on Russia "to assign a senior diplomat to work with the OSCE mission in eastern Ukraine to make absolutely clear to the separatists that Russia supports the agreement and wants de- escalation." Kerry also calls on Russia "to speak out against the seizing of journalists and other innocents as hostages and to join the US in calling for the immediate release of Irma Krat.
"He noted that the Ukrainian government has pledged a full investigation of the violent events in Sloviansk. Given some suspicious aspects of the events, Russia should withhold judgment on who was responsible until that investigation is complete," Psaki noted.
Kerry also "made clear that Russia's recent public statement casting doubt on Ukraine's commitments to the Geneva agreement flies in the face of the facts. The government of Ukraine put forward a broad amnesty bill for separatists to give up buildings and weapons and has sent senior representatives to the east with the OSCE to help implement the agreement, and had called an Easter pause in its counterterrorism operations." The US top diplomat "asked that Russia now demonstrate an equal level of commitment to the Geneva agreement in both its rhetoric and its actions. As noted in Geneva, without implementation the joint statement is only a piece of paper. And what is needed is true de-escalation." Furthermore, Psaki affirmed "we hope to see a de-escalation over the situation over the next few days. And if there's not progress, we remain prepared, along with our European and G-7 partners, to impose additional costs."