US official: Russia-Ukraine talks last attempt to ease tension before new sanctions on Moscow

Associated Press + More

By LARA JAKES, AP National Security Writer

GENEVA (AP) — A senior U.S. official says high-stakes diplomatic meetings in Geneva on Thursday to try to ease burgeoning violence in eastern Ukraine will mark Kiev's final attempt to engage with Russia before the West hits Moscow with additional economic sanctions.

It was not immediately clear how tough the sanctions might be and whether they would target Moscow's lucrative banking and energy sectors.

The U.S. official says diplomats from Kiev plan to brief Russia's foreign minister about efforts to decentralize power in Ukraine and protect Russian-speaking minorities like the ones who live near the two nation's border that has seen a surge in unrest over the last several days.

The U.S. diplomat was not permitted to be identified discussing the sensitive diplomatic talks and spoke on condition of anonymity.

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