US considering new sanctions against Russia over Ukraine conflict News
US considering new sanctions against Russia over Ukraine conflict

[JURIST] US Secretary of State John Kerry [official website] announced [press release] on Saturday that Washington is considering “additional sanctions” against Russia in light of the most recent events in Ukraine. In the statement, he accused Russia of engaging in “extraordinarily craven behavior at the expense of the sovereignty and integrity of a nation.” Russia has breached many stipulations of the ceasefire agreement [BBC backgrounder], including most recently when a prisoner exchange was executed on the front line. A separatist official said that 139 Ukrainian troops were freed in exchange [The Guardian report] for 52 rebels. Secretary Kerry stated:

“Russia has engaged in an absolutely brazen and cynical process over these last days. There is no secret to any of us […] we know to a certainty what Russia has been providing to the separatists, how Russia is involved with the separatists, and the ways in which Russia has cynically been willing to go to – even lead an effort at the UN, even simultaneously as it is continuing to do land grabbing in Ukraine.”

Russia’s ongoing conflict [BBC timeline] with Ukraine [JURIST news archive] has reinvigorated fears of Cold War Era politics and increased tensions between Russia and the West. Yesterday a spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement [JURIST report] revealed that Ban had spoken with Ukraine Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin regarding the ceasefire in Ukraine. Ban expressed concern over the situation and informed Klimkin that the UN would continue to follow the Security Council’s guidance. Earlier this month UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called for [JURIST report] both sides of the Ukraine conflict to halt “the dangerous escalation in the fighting” in response to the human rights “situation in the east of the country.” In January the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights released a statement [JURIST report] saying that at least 5,086 people have been killed since the conflict in Ukraine began in April 2014, but expressed concerns that the real figure may be much higher.