POLITICS: PennAve

Susan Rice: Russia has 'days' to follow through on Ukraine deal

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Politics,White House,Russia,Susan Rice,PennAve,Susan Crabtree,Foreign Policy,Ukraine

White House national security adviser Susan Rice said U.S. and European officials will watch Russia “over the coming days” to determine if the Kremlin is upholding its commitments to an agreement reached Thursday aimed at resolving the crisis in Ukraine.

“We expect and we will be watching whether Russia does or does not uphold its responsibility to use its very considerable influence to restrain and withdraw those irregular military [forces] from the buildings and spaces that it's occupied,” Rice told reporters at a White House briefing Friday.

Russian, Ukrainian, U.S. and European officials signed an agreement Thursday after talks in Geneva.

Moscow reportedly agreed to call on pro-Russian forces occupying buildings and areas in eastern Ukraine to give up their arms and stand down. In exchange, the government in Kiev pledged to offer amnesty to those forces that seized the buildings.

Ahead of the talks in Geneva, the administration announced that new sanctions had been “prepared” if Russia failed to de-escalate the standoff.

Rice on Friday said President Obama would direct the U.S. Treasury to move forward with those measures “if we don't see actions commensurate with the commitments Russians made.”

Pro-Russian forces so far have refused to hand over control of government buildings in eastern Ukraine, although some of them have said they would give up their weapons if the Ukrainian security forces also withdrew.

“We will lay down our weapons only if the National Guard and other Ukrainian military structures stop attacking us, and if we and our families feel safe,” Miroslav Rudenko, a leader of the pro-Russian militants in the Donetsk region, told Interfax news agency.

This story is based in part on wire reports.

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