Ayotte: Russia talks shouldn't delay sanctions

Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteLate polls show Dems gaining in governor races High anxiety for GOP Trump: 'Very disappointed' GOP senator dropped support MORE (R-N.H.) said preliminary talks between diplomats from the U.S., European Union, Ukraine and Russia should not be "used as an excuse to delay implementation of tougher sanctions" on Russia's banking and financial sectors. 

The talks should also not delay the authorization of additional sanctions should Russian President Vladimir Putin take further aggressive actions against Ukraine, she said in a statement Thursday. 

Ayotte is in the midst of crafting legislation that would immediately impose financial sanctions against Russia and provide military aid, including certain small arms, for Ukrainian forces.

Earlier in the day, the U.S., European Union, Ukraine and Russia agreed to take initial steps to de-escalate tensions in Ukraine, including refraining from any "violence, intimidation or provocative actions," according to a joint statement. 

The statement said they agreed that "all illegal armed groups must be disarmed; all illegally seized buildings must be returned to legitimate owners; all illegally occupied streets, squares and other public places in Ukrainian cities and towns must be vacated."

Ayotte also called upon Russian President Vladimir Putin to begin removing troops from Ukraine's border.

"If Russia is serious about de-escalating the situation in Ukraine, Putin should demonstrate that commitment by immediately halting efforts to undermine stability in Ukraine — including pulling back Russian troops assembled on the eastern Ukrainian border," she said. 

Since the weekend, pro-Russia protestors had seized government buildings throughout Ukrainian cities, some clashing with Ukrainian forces and prompting worry that a civil war would break out and Russian forces would intervene.