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US: Russia sparked latest unrest in Ukraine

Sunday - 4/13/2014, 2:40pm  ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The United States sees Russia's hand in the latest unrest in eastern Ukraine.

The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, tells ABC's "This Week" that the violence carries "the tell-tale signs of Moscow's involvement." She says, "It's professional, it's coordinated. There's nothing grassroots seeming about it."

Power says the U.S. could impose tougher penalties against Moscow if Russia continues its aggression.

Ukrainian officials say a Security Service officer was killed today in an exchange of gunfire with a pro-Russian militia in the eastern city of Slovyansk, where the police station and the Security Service office were seized yesterday by armed men. Unrest has spread to several cities in eastern Ukraine, including the major industrial city of Donetsk.

Secretary of State John Kerry has spoken by phone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. According to the State Department, Kerry expressed "strong concern" that the attacks in eastern Ukraine were "orchestrated and synchronized, similar to previous attacks in eastern Ukraine and Crimea." The department says Kerry made it clear that if Russia doesn't "take steps to de-escalate" and move its troops back from Ukraine's border, "there would be additional consequences."

Russia's Foreign Minstry is denying Kerry's claims. It says the crisis in Ukraine was caused by the failure of Ukraine's government to consider "the legitimate needs and interests" of the country's Russian-speaking population.

%@AP Links

146-r-20-(Sound of Oleksandr Turchynov, acting President of Ukraine, in remarks, speaking in Ukrainian)--Sound of the acting president of Ukraine speaking in Ukranian, "the National Security and Defense Council made a decision to start a full scale anti-terrorist operation engaging the armed forces of Ukraine. We will not allow Russia to repeat the Crimean scenario in the eastern regions of Ukraine." (13 Apr 2014)

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120-a-13-(Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, in interview)-"the same thing"-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power says there is great concern over Russia's actions in east Ukraine. COURTESY: ABC's 'This Week' ((mandatory on-air credit)) (13 Apr 2014)

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APPHOTO XAZ114: Demonstrators wave Ukrainian national flags during a pro-Ukraine rally in Luhansk, 30 kilometers (20 miles) west of the Russian border, Ukraine, Sunday, April 13, 2014. Ukraine is launching a "large-scale anti-terrorist operation" to resist attacks of armed pro-Russian forces, Ukraine's President Oleksandr Turchynov said on Sunday in a televised address.(AP Photo/Igor Golovniov) (13 Apr 2014)

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