Russia: US dimmed chances for settling Ukraine crisis

Russia: US dimmed chances for settling Ukraine crisis
Sat Jun 28, 2014 18:40:57

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says chances of settling crisis would have been higher if it only depended on Russia and Europe, criticizing the United States for encouraging Ukraine to challenge Moscow.

US officials have continued to push Ukraine’s leaders toward a confrontational path, Lavrov said in a televised event on Saturday, adding that chances of settling the crisis would increase if Ukraine only depended on Russia and Europe.

The Russian foreign minister’s comments come a day after the European Union summit in Brussels, which gave the Russian government and pro-Russia activists in Ukraine until Monday to take steps to improve the situation.

Also during the event, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a trade and political association pact with the European Union.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin has warned that it would take action in case the deal inflicts damage on the Russian economy.

Earlier in November, Ukraine plunged into chaos after then president, Viktor Yanukovych, refused to sign the Association Agreement with the 28-member bloc. The refusal triggered months of unrest and clashes, which finally led to the ouster of Yanukovych on February 23.

Following this, pro-Russia protests broke out in Ukraine’s eastern and southern regions. The protests gained momentum after independence referendums in eastern parts of Ukraine.

Ukrainian troops have been carrying out military operations since mid-April to crush pro-Russia protests in the east of the country.

The violence intensified after the Donetsk region together with Lugansk declared independence on May 12 following local referendums, in which the two provinces’ residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine.


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