U.S. Senator Robert Menendez urges US President Barack Obama to impose a new round of sanctions on Russia’s defense, energy, and financial sectors and increase military assistance to Ukraine amid ceasefire violations in eastern Ukraine, according to the senator’s statement published on Wednesday.

“These most recent attacks by Russian-supported forces serve as further proof that the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014 which passed Congress unanimously and was signed into law in December must be fully implemented,” the statement said. “The legislation requires the President [Obama] to impose sanctions on Russia’s defense sector, and authorizes the President to impose sanctions on Russia’s energy and financial sectors.”

Menendez, former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also called for increased military and non-military aid to Ukraine and immediate release of Nadezhda Savchenko, a Ukrainian pilot detained in Russia and currently being on a hunger strike, according to the statement.

On Tuesday, a passenger bus was shelled near the town of Volnovakha in the Donetsk region. The incident claimed 12 lives and left 18 people injured. The Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) authorities have denied any involvement in the attack.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday that Russia is alarmed by the sharp increase of ceasefire violations in eastern Ukraine.

A joint investigation into a recent attack on the passenger bus by Ukraine, Russia and the DPR representatives and monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will begin on January 15.


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