Ukraine backs more sanctions against Russia in passport spat
MOSCOW — Ukraine’s president called Tuesday for new sanctions against Russia over its decision to recognize passports issued by separatist authorities in eastern Ukraine, while the Kremlin accused Ukraine of denying vital documents to people in the rebel regions.
The Kremlin said its decision is a ``humanitarian’’ move to help residents of rebel-held areas in eastern Ukraine who are suffering from a blockade by Ukrainian nationalists, and says that doesn’t amount to recognizing the rebel regions.
The United States rejected the move, calling the passports ``illegitimate.’’ In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Russia’s action ``undermines efforts to bring peace to eastern Ukraine.’’ Ukrainian forces have been fighting Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine since April 2014, a conflict that has killed more than 9,800 people. A 2015 agreement on resolving the conflict has been widely flouted by both sides.
As the war continues, a peace plan crafted by two associates of U.S. President Donald Trump and a Ukrainian parliament member caused a stir.