Kerry says Russia lacks positive steps in Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry is telling the Russian foreign minister that he is deeply concerned over what he describes as the lack of positive steps by the Russians to de-escalate the situation on the ground in eastern Ukraine.

In a phone call Tuesday to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Kerry cited what he contends is mounting evidence that separatists are continuing to increase the number of buildings under occupation and take captive journalists and other civilians.

The State Department says that Kerry has urged Russia to tone down its rhetoric and engage diplomatically in the east with the Ukrainian government and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He's also urging Russia to call for those occupying buildings to disarm and stand down in exchange for amnesty.

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