(QHA) -

The White House says President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have discussed potential further sanctions against Russia over its involvement in Ukraine, RFE/RL reports.

The White House said in a statement that, during a phone call last night, Obama and Merkel called again on Moscow to withdraw its troops from the border region.
The statement said that pro-Russian separatists, "apparently with support from Moscow," were destabilizing Ukraine through "an orchestrated campaign of incitement and sabotage."
It said Obama "underscored the need for the United States, European Union, and other global partners to be prepared to meet further Russian escalation with additional sanctions."
The United States also accused Moscow of using energy to bully Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Europe that gas supplies to Ukraine could be suspended if Kyiv does not pay off its $2.2 billion gas debt.