Posted: Mar 4, 2014 12:08 PM
Source: Associated Press
KIEV, Ukraine - Secretary of State John Kerry has met today in Ukraine with that country's acting president, prime minister and foreign minister, as well as top parliamentary officials.
It's a show of U.S. support for Ukraine's new leadership, as it deals with a Russian military takeover of Crimea, a mostly pro-Russian region in southeastern Ukraine.
After today's meeting, Kerry urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to stand down. Kerry said the U.S. is looking for ways to de-escalate tensions.
He told reporters that Russia has been "working hard to create a pretext for being able to invade further." He said it's "not appropriate to invade a country, and at the end of a barrel of a gun dictate what you are trying to achieve."
Kerry earlier walked the streets where nearly 100 anti-government protesters were gunned down by police last month. He promised Ukrainians that U.S. aid is on the way.
The Obama administration announced a $1 billion energy subsidy package for Ukraine as Kerry was arriving there. The United States is preparing economic sanctions -- something Kerry said "Russia is pushing us to do."