He has confirmed that Obama’s administration still intends to use in its relationship with Russia both diplomacy and sanctions, although it admits that all disputable issues linked to the Ukrainian crisis may be eventually solved only by diplomatic means. Hartley noted that until recently Washington had been imposing sanctions on Moscow in several phases and only then, when diplomatic efforts once again proved fruitless.
“However, the scale of the sanctions can be changed. They are flexible,” Hartley said. “If the Russians decide they want to ensure de-escalation of the situation and behave in accordance with international standards again, then we can lift the sanctions.” “But, even as we tighten our approach to solving these issues, we want to leave the door open for a diplomatic solution,” the official said, adding that the USA was still hoping for the implementation of Geneva accords on Ukraine reached April 17.
When asked by congressmen about the goal of American sanctions, the State Department representative stated that thus the USA intends “to influence Russia's behavior and return it to compliance with the international norms”. He recalled that similar measures were taken by the EU, Canada and Japan, as well as several other states not included in the G7, or in the EU. Hartley believes that in this sense, it is possible to speak about “a broad international coalition”. However, when the American lawmakers asked whether such measures look effective and would it be possible to achieve anything in this way, Hartley said: “It may be a long process.”
Earlier, Moscow repeatedly stated that it discards US and EU sanctions regarding the developments in Ukraine.
“Language of ultimatums is unacceptable,” the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized.
The ministry also pointed to the fact that foreign partners were groundlessly accusing Russia of not fulfilling Geneva accords, while Kiev authorities were applying force against protesters in eastern Ukraine and did not do anything to provide broad participation of all the country’s regions in drafting a constitution and preparing for the elections.