WASHINGTON (AP) - Secretary of State John Kerry has expressed strong concern that attacks by armed militants in eastern Ukraine have been orchestrated and synchronized, and are similar to previous attacks in eastern Ukraine and Crimea.

The State Department says that Kerry expressed his concern Saturday in a phone call with Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov.

In a statement, the State Department says that Kerry made clear that if Russia does not take steps to de-escalate in eastern Ukraine and move its troops back from Ukraine's border, there would be additional consequences.

On Saturday, men in the uniforms of Ukraine's now-defunct riot police occupied police headquarters in one of the eastern cities that's become a flashpoint of a wave of pro-Russia protests. A Ukrainian official describes the unrest as "Russian aggression."

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