WASHINGTON, July 9 (Xinhua) -- The Obama administration on Wednesday threatened to slap additional sanctions against Russia " very soon," should Moscow fail to "change course" in eastern Ukraine.
"We're ready to impose more costs, including targeted sector- specific sanctions, very soon if Russia does not decisively change course and break its support for separatists," Victoria Nuland, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, said at a Senate hearing on the latest developments in Ukraine.
She said Washington was continuing the discussions with its European partners "about the right moment for sanctions as they prepare for the last meeting of European heads before the summer break, which is on July 16."
"Our goal is to act in concert with Europe, but the president has always made clear that if necessary, he will act on our own," she added.
Armed rebels in Ukraine's east are still fighting the government forces despite heavy losses in recent days, and the Ukrainian military has refused to declare another unilateral ceasefire.
U.S. President Barack Obama and his French counterpart Francois Hollande on Monday called for a ceasefire between the conflicting parties in eastern Ukraine with Russia's full support.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ended a 10-day ceasefire on July 1 in the country's restive east, blaming the insurgent forces for failing to observe the truce.
Some U.S. senators are frustrated about the Obama administration's failure to impose more costs for Russia despite its repeated threat to do so.
"I think our country acting like such a paper tiger to the world on this and so many other fronts is doing incredible long- term damage to our nation," said Bob Corker, a ranking member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
Russia has dismissed the West's accusations of supplying the Ukrainian rebels with arms as "shameless."