Lew Says U.S., Allies Working to Ensure Russia ‘Pays a Price’

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew urged Russia to defuse tensions in Ukraine or the U.S. and its allies will ensure it “pays a price” for destabilizing the region.

“I’m not going to get ahead of an announcement of what the content of it is, but we have been clear that there are steps that we’re prepared to take,” Lew told reporters in Detroit today.

“The right solution is for Russia to take a step back so that there’s not a need for these further sanctions to be put into effect,” he said. “Should there be a need, we’re prepared to take action.”

The U.S. and its allies have been discussing additional measures to take, Lew said, declining to be more specific.

“There was a clear determination to continue working together to make sure that Russia pays a price for actions that it’s taking,” he said. “It’s clear that the actions on the ground continue to be very troubling.”

U.S. and European officials have said Russia hasn’t fulfilled its part of an April 17 accord signed in Geneva aimed at calming the crisis.

The conflict -- the biggest between Russia and its former Cold War enemies since the collapse of the Soviet Union -- escalated yesterday when Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Ukraine against continuing an anti-separatist offensive that killed five rebels.

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