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Rice warns Russia ‘we will be watching’

The White House warned Russia Friday that it was closely watching and evaluating whether Moscow was honoring a deal reached in Geneva designed to ease tensions in Ukraine.

National Security Advisor Susan Rice said Moscow must quickly rein in pro-Russia separatist groups in eastern Ukraine and allow Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitors into the area.

“We expect and we will be watching whether Russia does or does not uphold its responsibility to use its very considerable influence to restrain and withdraw those irregular militia from the buildings and spaces that they’ve occupied,” said Rice.

“So we will see, over the coming days, whether Russia upholds its agreement,” she said, implicitly warning of new sanctions if Russia was judged to have honored the Geneva deal.

The stern warning from Rice came as Russia reacted angrily to previous US warnings, including from President Barack Obama, that it could face new sanctions if it did not live up to the deal reached on Thursday.

At the State Department, spokeswoman Jen Psaki also cast doubt on whether Russia would follow through on the deal, which requires a disarming of militia groups and their evacuation of government buildings they have seized.

“I will say we’re clear-eyed about Russia’s record of not implementing steps in the past, so we will see if they do take steps this time,” Psaki said.

“If they don’t take steps, there will be consequences.”

Neither Rice nor Psaki however would put a deadline on the US assessment of Russian compliance — both saying it was a matter of “days.”