Secretary of State John Kerry joined his European counterparts in condemning today's attacks in Ukraine by Russian-backed separatists. Secretary Kerry said:
"....With smoke rising from apartment buildings and playgrounds from over 40 rounds of powerful rockets, media are reporting over 100 wounded. OSCE monitors have confirmed at least 20 dead including women, children, and the elderly. It is reprehensible that the separatists are publicly glorifying this and other offensives in blatant violation of the Minsk agreements they signed.
"The separatists' new offensive, not just in Mariupol and Debaltseve, but along the ceasefire line, has been aided and abetted by Russia's irresponsible and dangerous decision to resupply them in recent weeks with hundreds of new pieces of advanced weaponry, including rocket systems, heavy artillery, tanks, armored vehicles, in addition to continuing operational command and control.
"Russia's commitment to the Minsk agreements it signed will be assessed by its actions not its words. We call on Russia to end its support for separatists immediately, close the international border with Ukraine, and withdraw all weapons, fighters and financial backing. Otherwise, U.S. and international pressure on Russia and its proxies will only increase."
Vice President Joe Biden spoke today with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko about the situation in eastern Ukraine. The Vice President and President Poroshenko expressed grave concern over Russia's blatant disregard for its commitments under the September Minsk agreement and unilateral escalation of the conflict, and agreed to work with international partners to ensure that the costs continue to rise on Russia for its aggressive actions against Ukraine. The Vice President expressed his condolences for the tragic loss of life in Mariupol and elsewhere in eastern Ukraine.
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