US-led attempts to start new war in Donbass could destroy Ukraine: Russia
Russia has warned that that any attempts spearheaded by the West to start a new military conflict in Ukraine’s war-torn east would culminate in the destruction of Ukraine.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov raised the alarm on Thursday, after Ukraine’s commander-in-chief accused Moscow of building up forces near their shared border and claimed that pro-Russian separatists were systematically violating a ceasefire in the eastern Ukrainian region of the Donbass.
Lavrov stressed that most of Ukraine's military appeared to understand the danger of a "hot conflict" in Donbass, and said, "I very much hope that they will not be incited by politicians, who in turn will be incited by the West, led by the United States.”
"Russian President Putin said this not long ago, but this statement is still relevant today, that those who would try to start a new war in Donbass, will destroy Ukraine," Lavrov added.
The Kremlin said earlier in the day that recent Russian troop and military hardware movements near Russia’s borders with Ukraine were aimed at ensuring Moscow’s own security and posed “no threat” to anyone.
"There is increased activity on the perimeter of Russia's borders by NATO, other alliances, individual countries – it all obliges us to be vigilant," the Kremlin underlined.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also said on Thursday that he had spoken to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which monitors the effects of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, about Russia’s “systemic aggravation” of the security situation in Ukraine and Crimea.
Kyiv and Moscow have traded blame in recent weeks for a spike in violence in the Russian-speaking eastern Donbass region, where Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian forces have fought a conflict that has killed 14,000 people since 2014 by Ukraine’s estimate.