Washington: Russia faces the prospects of more economic sanctions and further isolation from the international community if it does not stop supporting separatist rebels in Ukraine, the White House has said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to use his influence with the Russian-backed separatists and prevent the transfer of heavy weapons from the Russian side to cross the border, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
"Until he does them, he will face deepening isolation from the international community and the possibility that the international community would impose further economic costs on Russia for his failure to live up to basic international norms," Earnest said.
Early this week, the United States and European Union slapped additional and tougher sanctions on Russia for its alleged interference in Ukrainian stability and sovereignty.
"Many of the leaders of that separatist movement are actually Russian citizens. So presumably, their President would have some influence over them. Getting them to agree to lay down their arms and agree to a ceasefire with the Ukrainian government would be an important first step and something important for President Putin to do," he said.
"We`ve seen the Russian military, at the direction of President Putin, conduct training exercises to ensure that those Russian-backed separatists know how to use that heavy equipment to maximum effect. There have been some tragic consequences for those decisions. And those are just three examples of the kinds of things we would like to see President Putin do," he added.
Earnest said the sanctions regime that has been put in place against Russia is one that has been carefully coordinated across the global community.
"Many of our G7 partners have also put in place some tough economic sanctions against Russia, and that will limit Russia`s access to the international financial community and it will deepen their isolation. That is specifically a result of steps that President Putin has taken to destabilise the area in Ukraine," he added.
Putin, he alleged, has failed to accept and acknowledge and abide by generally accepted international norms. "There have been consequences for that. We hope that by putting in place these economic costs, it will cause him to reevaluate his strategy in Ukraine," he said.