John Kerry: Russian Agents Trying to Destabilize Ukraine

Washington, Moscow fight war of words over the Eastern European country.
9:19 | 04/08/14

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Transcript for John Kerry: Russian Agents Trying to Destabilize Ukraine
This is a special group. -- clear and unmistakable involved and in. Destabilizing. And engaging in separatist activities in the eastern Ukraine has more than deeply disturbing. No one should be fool to believe me no one is -- By what could potentially be a contrived pre tax for military intervention. Just as we saw in Crimea. Hello I'm Michelle Franzen in New York secretary of state John -- on Capitol Hill today. Charging Moscow was sending agents and eastern Ukraine this as the Russians accuse the US of -- 150. Mercenary fighters in the country developing now a new crisis brewing in Ukraine. And an increasingly fraught war of words between DC in Moscow. With more on -- saying what and why. We're joined now from Kia by ABC's Alex Mark Clark and from Moscow by ABC's accurate -- idea here -- let's start with you we've heard from secretary Kerry who is blaming this on. Paid Russia agents what are the Russians say. Well you'll be surprised though they're denying those accusations but they are like you said earlier -- their own accusations. That there are 150. American mercenaries. Inside Ukraine dressed up. As a special forces unit they are warning that the western interventions in Ukraine could lead to a civil war. And let's talk about that a little -- we've also heard from gray stone what is their response to these accusations. Yeah I talked to somebody degrees office in Virginia. Just a short while ago when they are denying that they had anybody. In Ukraine right now. But of course that this -- that the Russian -- is very dangerous. The Americans should also -- that the -- massacre in Kiev the American -- GM said that this was all -- And Alex we want to go to carry again with a pretty bitter assessment of Russia's actions and -- take a listen. Russian provocative yours and agents operating in eastern Ukraine. Tells us that they've been sent there are determined to create chaos. And that is -- absolutely. Unacceptable. These efforts. Are. -- ham handed as they are transfer are frankly. And quite simply what we -- from Russia's illegal and illegitimate effort to destabilize a sovereign state. And create a contrived crisis. With paid operatives. Across the international boundary. Engaged in this initiative. So Alex if what Kerry is saying is accurate what is Russia's and game here. -- really -- million dollar question we really don't know from the beginning. What has been going on inside the mind of president Vladimir Putin he himself -- deputies -- ministers. Have gone out and said that they don't have any goals beyond the annexation. Crimea they don't plan on going into eastern Ukraine to -- Any of that tech territory. That -- Russia has said it will intervene to protect the rights. Ethnic Russians as -- -- mentioned or mr. Lavrov has warned of a civil war so that has raised fears. -- that Russia will indeed intervene militarily. I just yesterday Ukraine's acting prime minister. Said that Russia is planning an invasion -- eastern Ukraine the west including United States. Still clearly. Afraid that that that that could happen. We've seen tape is of thousands of Russians massing along that border -- eastern Ukraine raising the Specter of a further indication following. That annexation of Crimea so what it looks like is happening is that Russia. Is intent on keeping Ukraine a relatively. Unstable are keeping part of Ukraine eight east speed -- majority Russian part. Within -- orbit and and perhaps trying to influence other presidential elections are next -- gives us. The lay of the land Alex what does the state of play in the east of Ukraine now and -- -- -- Curry even -- hands major cities who is in control in the of those areas right now. Right -- that three major cities that not only over the course of the past few weeks of the course the past few days. Have seen some major violence we've seen some pro -- activists taking over our government buildings municipal buildings us seats of the of local governors. And of mayors and they are still in control of several of those buildings are Ukrainian special forces and -- Have -- -- and been able to take back some of those buildings they've arrested a scores. These Russian separatists. Which the ready Ukrainian authorities. Are calling terrorists the Ukrainian authorities insist. I bet that things are under control that things are calm overall. Ukraine is still very much in control. Of these areas of these regions has nothing like what we saw on Crimea where Russian forces buried Gregory. Took control. Of Crimea now but there are still spots pockets buildings where these Russian it forces these -- precious pro Russian activists. -- -- we can expect of of course the coming days and weeks to see more. This the east pro Russian activists on the streets protesting in trying to take over buildings. And Alex -- -- Evan there's also been some fighting -- a little bit unrest there too but not in the streets this time in the parliament what set off that brawl there today. Right we -- He'd be Ukrainian parliament -- the -- as it's known here descend into an all out brawl today while when he Communist member of parliament got I've been during his speech he used. A far right Nationalists. In in Ukraine of a -- unrest -- using tactics that play into Putin's hands. I've stated that Jackson -- -- and came up in an assault -- Communist member parliament. Fences we were cleared if you will this is not the first time that we have seen fighting in the Ukrainian parliament we saw last. In February people clearly very passionate people -- divided. On the direction of Ukraine and that you might be safe to say that that's not the last brawl that we're gonna see your -- And of course security -- we see images like this of course it's not the first time as Alex mentioned but it does sort of play into. -- candidate for a few weeks of thing that Russia was satisfied with taking control just Crimea has even approached Washington. For talks about ways to defuse that tension so what -- changed in Russia's stance or position. Over the last few days. Well. Not really sure much has changed -- -- obviously -- the one thing that -- change was as he said there were some costly between Washington and Moscow trying to come up with some sort of resolution the Russians. Wanted to have what they were calling federalism which was essentially. Taking a lot of the power that was concentrated in the presidency and getting into the regions which would of course allow Russia to be able to influence what was going on there. That -- through for the most part there are going to be some talks in the next week or so. But I think that when that fell through the Russians sold out -- be. As Alex said -- intend for the longest time not on seizing that. That portion territory -- it -- in Crimea but I'm keeping that part unstable keeping. Ukraine week and making sure that it would not -- attractive partner for the last. And what do you think will be the next step for US leaders as well as other western leaders who have been trying to rally around this along with sanctions. To makes this. Have a resolution to this. Well the most important thing that they've had to do so far -- to make sure that Ukraine is sound financially. -- and massive debt and that's one of the biggest problems right now excellent things -- -- this whole protest months ago. -- that's one of the things they're gonna have to make sure that they fixed immediately but beyond that the US has said that their response will be very much calibrated. Based on what the Russians -- -- board that if Russia continues to meddle in Ukraine and it even more if it goes and since troops -- that they will respond. With sanctions. And that they will be very strongly that it -- Abbas and -- the United States economy -- well. And being on the ground there do you get a sense that the sanctions are. Taking hold there that people are feeling these -- -- No -- that's not something that you feel sort of on a personal level here in their bid. I think certain people who have bank accounts -- banks that were affected and those the people that are feeling it. But right now you know for example the immediate currency hasn't really been affected too much largely because. -- has been propping it up for the past month over these sanctions fears. But on a day to day level we haven't quite felt this yet. We will feel it if they do impose additional measures that would really cripple the Russian economy that's something that we would feel pretty quickly. All right ABC's secured Roddy and Moscow and -- Alex Mark Clark and yet thank you both. You can keep up with this developing story in real time by downloading the ABC news -- and starring this story with -- for exclusive updates on ago. For now I'm Michelle Franzen in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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