Vice President Biden spoke on the phone with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Friday after a rebel offensive this week threatened increased violence between Russia and Ukraine.

Biden strongly condemned the Russian-backed offensive earlier this week in which rebels seized the eastern Ukrainian town of Debaltseve, according to a readout of his call provided by the White House. The U.S. has said the offensive violated multiple cease-fire agreements signed by Russia.

In his call with Poroshenko and a separate talk with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Biden discussed how the cease-fire and withdrawal of heavy weaponry could be monitored. 

What remains unclear is whether the U.S. will provide lethal weapons to Ukraine or decide to ramp up economic sanctions against Russia. 

A bipartisan group of lawmakers wrote a letter to Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryFormer Georgia senator and governor Zell Miller dies 2020 Dems compete for top campaign operatives Kentucky candidate takes heat for tweeting he'd like to use congressman for target practice MORE on Friday urging the U.S. provide defensive arms to Ukraine and explore the possibility of additional sanctions on Moscow. 

White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Friday said "it's possible that there could be additional costs over and above" current sanctions if Russia not abide by its agreements. 

The Ukrainian government says that Russian-backed rebels have violated the cease-fire more than 250 times since it officially took effect Feb. 15, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Thursday. 

Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine have said that last week's truce must be enforced despite the rebel offensive in Debaltseve, according to Bloomberg