The United States and the European Union have threatened to
ratchet up sanctions against the Russian economy unless Moscow
reins in pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine that are
fighting the Ukraine government. Moscow denies supporting them.
A White House statement said Obama and Merkel expressed their
support for diplomatic efforts that are trying to arrange a new
ceasefire in eastern Ukraine.
"They stressed that Russia must take immediate steps to
de-escalate the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The president and
the chancellor agreed that the United States and Europe should
take further coordinated measures to impose costs on Russia if
it does not take steps toward de-escalation in short order," the
White House said.
(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Ken Wills)
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