- The Washington Times - Monday, April 14, 2014

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said Monday the United States and its allies are “fully prepared” to impose additional sanctions on Russia if it continues to whip up unrest in the eastern part of Ukraine, the new focal point of turmoil after Russian President Vladimir Putin moved quickly to annex the Crimea.

Mr. Lew was joined by Ukrainian Finance Minister Oleksandr Shlapak to speak about U.S. efforts with the International Monetary Fund to stabilize Ukraine, including a $1 billion loan guarantee.

“Through this difficult period, the United States has been at the forefront of building international support for Ukraine and holding Russia accountable for its destabilizing action,” Mr. Lew said.

Mr. Putin decried the ouster of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych from Kiev in February, setting up a standoff with the West over the former Soviet republic’s future.

Now, Mr. Putin is accused of orchestrating unrest in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, which has resulted in deadly standoffs as pro-Russian militias battle Ukrainian security forces.

The United States levied some sanctions against Mr. Putin and his country’s markets, but lawmakers like Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, have said the United States is not doing enough to crack down on Russian and tangibly support Ukrainian forces.

On Monday, Mr. Shlapak struck a grateful tone and warned “bandits” not to cause further disruptions in his home country.

“These wonderful spring days here in Washington, our heart remains in Ukraine, in Ukraine which now undergoes a war, not just a war against separatists and bandits,” Mr. Shlapak said. “There is also a war against corruption, the war against economic irresponsibility. And the Ukrainian government is decisive in its aspiration to introduce economic, political and financial reform.”