US President Barack Obama and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi have agreed to work together on additional sanctions on Russia if Moscow drags its feet on helping ease tensions in eastern Ukraine.
Obama spoke with Renzi by telephone on Wednesday. The leaders discussed the fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian militants.
The White House says Obama and Renzi confirmed that Moscow must exercise its influence to urge pro-Russian separatists to lay down their arms and take concrete action to stop weapons flowing into Ukraine.
Obama and Renzi also agreed that the Ukrainian government and the separatists should continue negotiations to realize a peace plan announced by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
Kiev is criticizing Moscow for backing the separatists despite Ukraine's call for a ceasefire.
Analysts say there are differences on sanctions between the US and the EU, which depends on energy supplies from Russia. They say Obama wants to coordinate with the EU on sanctions through talks with President Renzi and other EU leaders.
Jun. 26, 2014 - Updated 05:00 UTC