The United States said on Friday it was prepared to impose further sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine, where armed pro-Moscow separatists seized a bus carrying international mediators, Reuters reported.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said that the United States is working with its allies so that the next round of sanctions against Moscow will put more pain on the Russian economy, according to the news agency.
"We are working with our international partners to make sure that when we do it, we do it in an effective way," he was quoted as having said.
The White House said President Barack Obama and European allies all felt that Russia had escalated tension in the region, where the rebels have refused to leave official buildings they have occupied.
Britain and Germany agreed further sanctions were in order, building on targeted U.S. and European sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian individuals following Russia's annexation of Crimea. But none of the three countries gave any details of what the sanctions might be, or when they might be enacted.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry threatened Russia with more sanctions on Thursday, after disturbing reports surfaced that the bodies of two Ukrainian men - one a parliamentarian - had been found, mutilated and presumably tortured, near Slaviansk.
The United States and the EU have already responded to Russia’s actions in Ukraine by imposing personal sanctions against Russian and Crimean officials involved in the seizure of the peninsula.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, has remained unfazed by EU and U.S. economic sanctions, and has responded by drafting his own sanctions on top American senators.
Moscow denies allegations it is directing the separatists, who have taken control of large parts of eastern Ukraine over the past three weeks.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)