U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Russian agents have been sent to eastern Ukraine to create "chaos.", Reuters reports.

Kerry also said that Russia's actions in eastern Ukraine could be a contrived pretext for military intervention just like in Crimea.

Kerry was testifying before a U.S. Senate panel in Washington on April 8. 

He said, "Everything that we've seen in the last 48 hours, from the Russian provocateurs and agents operating in eastern Ukraine, tells us that they've been sent there determined to create chaos." 

Kerry said the United States and its European allies were willing to impose tough new sanctions on Russian energy, banking, and mining entities if Russia continues to infringe on Ukraine's sovereignty.

He also noted he would meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and with Ukrainian officials next week in Europe.