Ukraine's actions against pro-Russian militiamen in the country's eastern region are called for because of the threat to law and order in the country, the White House said on Tuesday.

"The Ukrainian government has the responsibility to provide law and order and these provocations in eastern Ukraine are creating a situation in which the government has to respond," White House spokesman Jay Carney said at a briefing.

The United States is "seriously considering" new sanctions against Russia, but is not considering providing lethal aid to Ukraine, he said.

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