Kerry to Russia: End backing of Ukraine insurgents

Sen. John Kerry takes trip the Congo
Democratic Republic of Congo Foreign Minister Raymond Tshibanda, left, shakes hands with US Secretary of State John Kerry upon his arrival at N'djili Airport in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Saturday, May 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Saul Loeb, Pool)

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry calls the release of seven European military observers Ukraine a positive step, but says more is needed to ease tensions.

Kerry says it’s important that Russia withdraw support for separatists who have seized government buildings in about a dozen cities and towns in Ukraine.

Kerry also is raising the prospect of additional Western sanctions if there are indications of continued interference by Russia.

Russia denies allegations it’s fomenting the unrest in eastern Ukraine.

Kerry is traveling in Africa and spoke by telephone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Saturday.

Kerry says they discussed the violence in Odessa, where at least 42 people died in clashes between government supporters and opponents Friday, and that everything possible must be done to end it.

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