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President Barack Obama and four key European allies agreed on Friday that Russia failed to live up to the terms of the Ukraine peace accord, and would coordinate on a response to "impose costs" on Russia, the White House said.
"The president noted that the United States is prepared to impose targeted sanctions to respond to Russia's latest actions," the White House said in a statement after Obama's conference call with French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
"The leaders agreed to work closely together, and through the G7 and European Union, to coordinate additional steps to impose costs on Russia. The leaders underscored that Russia could still choose a peaceful resolution to the crisis, including by implementing the Geneva accord," the White House said.
However, the administration appears to be having a difficult time getting European support for stronger sanctions against Russia for failing to live up to last week's Geneva agreement, according to sources with knowledge of the matter.
Dow Jones reported that any new U.S. sanctions against Russia is unlikely to happen Friday.
Meanwhile, armed separatists in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slaviansk seized a bus carrying international observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on Friday, the interior ministry said.
The group, which included 7 OSCE representatives and five members of the Ukrainian armed forces, was being held in the building of the state security agency (SBU) in the city which has been occupied by pro-Russian separatists.
"Negotiations are going on for their release," a ministry statement said.