Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ukraine crisis: Russia 'to respond if its interests' attacked

Russia will respond if its interests in Ukraine are attacked, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said, drawing a parallel with the 2008 Georgian war.
Speaking to Russian state TV channel RT, Mr Lavrov also accused the US of "running the show" in Ukraine - a claim Washington dismissed as "ludicrous".
Russia's foreign ministry also repeated its call for Kiev to withdraw military units from the east of Ukraine.
Ukraine's government faces an armed revolt there by pro-Russia separatists.
Kiev and the West say Moscow commands gunmen in eastern Ukraine - something Russia denies.
'Aggressive rhetoric'
In recent weeks, pro-Russian militants have seized administrative buildings in at least a dozen towns in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
They have installed their own officials, in similar tactics to those used to take over the Ukrainian region of Crimea earlier this year.
The US has called on Moscow to ask pro-Russian gunmen to lay down their weapons and leave public buildings. It has also urged Russia to tone down its aggressive rhetoric or face further sanctions.
The Kiev authorities responded to the occupation of official buildings and roadblocks by carrying out an "anti-terror" operation in eastern Ukraine.
The military operation became bogged down and was suspended over the Easter period before resuming on Tuesday.
An armed man in military fatigues stands guard outside the security service (SBU) regional building seized by the separatists in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk on April 23
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Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, 22 April
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Joe Biden, left, talks to Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk during a meeting in Kiev, April. 22
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