Hundreds of pro-Russian separatists seized a government building in the Ukrainian city of Luhansk 15 miles from the Russian border Tuesday. Kerry is claiming that the U.S. now has proof that Russia is sending agents into the region to escalate the unrest.
The Telegraph obtained remarks from a closed-door meeting Tuesday where Kerry said that American officers have overheard intelligence operatives in the area being directed by Moscow.
"We know exactly who's giving those orders, we know where they are coming from," Kerry reportedly said. "Intel is producing taped conversations of intelligence operatives taking their orders from Moscow and everybody can tell the difference in the accents, in the idioms, in the language."
The EU has imposed sanctions on top officials of the GRU, the Russian military intelligence service, and Kerry has reportedly expressed concern over the GRU running operations in eastern Ukraine.
"It's not an accident that you have some of the same people identified who were in Crimea and in Georgia and who are now in east Ukraine," he said. "This is insulting to everybody's intelligence, let alone to our notions about how we ought to be behaving in the 21st century. It's thuggism, it's rogue state-ism. It's the worst order of behavior."
Feeling the pressure of the growing strength of the separatists in the east, interim Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov said Wednesday that the military has been put on full military readiness. Turchynov turned to the military option after police and and security forces failed to quell the uprisings in the region.
"I once again return to the real danger of the Russian Federation beginning a land war against Ukraine," Turchynov said. "Our armed forces have been put on full military readiness."
The U.S., EU and Russia have agreed that the crisis needs to be solved through political and diplomatic means, but U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt has said that if Russia invades, the U.S. will respond leading to "tragic consequences."