The United States has said it's in talks with Europe over levying more sanctions against Moscow, due to its "brazen" violations of a recent ceasefire agreement between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking after meetings with his British counterpart Philip Hammond in London, said President Obama was weighing whether or not to ramp up sanctions on Russia.
The current sanctions against Russia are designed to squeeze the political elite, and have a minimal impact on its citizens. But Kerry warned new measures would have a broader societal effect, piling pressure onto Putin.
"If this failure continues, make no mistake, there will be further consequences, including consequences that will put added strains on Russia's already troubled economy," he said. "We are not going to sit back and allow this kind of cynical, craven behaviour to continue at the expense of the sovereignty of another nation."
The ceasefire, which ended the 10-month conflict when it came into force of February 15, was broken within hours. And it's been shaken further by the capture of Debaltseve, a railway junction in eastern Ukraine, yesterday. This forced a retreat by thousands of Ukrainian troops in which at least 20 Ukrainian soldiers were killed.