Kerry Expresses Concern About 'Escalating Tensions' to Russia

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Secretary of State John Kerry expressed concerns about "escalating tensions" in eastern Ukraine to top Russian and Ukrainian officials Wednesday.

Kerry spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and interim Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in separate phone calls Wednesday morning, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said.

He told Lavrov that the U.S. was concerned about "escalating tensions in the east," and the two discussed meeting next week to talk more about Ukraine. A date and location for a meeting has not been finalized.

Kerry and Yatsenyuk "discussed the ongoing efforts by the Ukrainian government to continue to address the situation in eastern Ukraine peacefully," according to Psaki. Kerry also spoke with him about meeting next week with the Russians.

Over the weekend, at least three cities across eastern Ukraine were overtaken by pro-Russian demonstrators, according to the Ukrainian government.

On Tuesday, Kerry said Russian agents were to blame for the unrest there this week, and warned Russia may be laying the groundwork for a military intervention — just as it did before seizing Crimea.

—Catherine Chomiak and Elizabeth Chuck