July 25, 2014 / 3:27 AM / 5 years ago

Obama, Netherlands' Rutte agree more sanctions needed on Russia

Netherlands' Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaks at a news conference at The Hague July 18, 2014. REUTERS/Cris Toala Olivares

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama spoke by phone with Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Thursday and the White House said both agreed on the need to impose more sanctions on Russia for continuing to arm pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.

According to a White House statement, the two leaders said Russia still had not taken steps to de-escalate the situation in eastern Ukraine a week after a Malaysian passenger jet was shot down by what U.S. officials believe were pro-Russian separatists using Russian weapons. All 298 people on board were killed.

“Instead of de-escalating the situation, they agreed that all evidence indicates Russia is still arming and supplying separatists who continue to engage in deadly acts of aggression against Ukrainian armed forces,” the White House said.

As a result, Obama and Rutte believe Russia must not be permitted “to destabilize the situation in Ukraine without incurring costs and that, accordingly, the international community will need to enact additional sanctions.”

Obama also spoke with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. The White House said they agreed on the need for immediate access to the crash site by international investigators.

Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Paul Tait

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