In what is expected to raise the temperatures of the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War, Russia on Wednesday issued a sharp retort to the US saying Moscow will not hesitate to respond if its interests in Ukraine were attacked.
In an interview to the state-controlled Russia Today television, Russian Foreign Minister Segei Lavrov said that Russia will retaliate if attacked, adding that it is America which is engineering the recent events in Ukraine.
Lavrov also mentioned the Russian invasion of Georgia’s South Ossetia in 2008 when he said, “If our interests, our legitimate interests, the interests of Russians have been attacked directly, like they were in South Ossetia for example, I do not see any other way but to respond in accordance with international law”.
“Russian citizens being attacked is an attack against the Russian Federation,” he added.
Lavrov also accused the US of manipulating the events in Ukraine, referring to the timing of “anti-terrorist operation” launched by the government only after US Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Kiev and assured of US support.
“There is no reason not to believe that the Americans are running the show,” RT website quoted him as saying.“
“It’s quite telling they chose the moment of the Vice President of the US’ visit to announce the resumption of this operation because the launching of this operation happened immediately after (CIA head) John Brennan’s visit to Kiev,” said Lavrov.
Lavrov’s comments come as US troops numbering 600 were to be deployed in Poland and the Baltic states from Wednesday to “reassure allies and partners”.
Talking about Russian troops’ presence at Ukraine border, Lavrov said they didn’t enter Ukraine.
Lavrov further lashed out at the US, saying Ukraine was just one example of American ambition to win “the geopolitical fight” .
“Americans are not ready to admit that they cannot run the show in each and every part of the globe from Washington alone,” said Lavrov.
Russia’s bold retort came after US reiterated its warning of imposing further sanctions against Moscow in wake of lack of positive steps in direction of stabilisation of Ukraine.
Russia had earlier accused the Ukraine government of failing to implement Geneva deal by doing nothing to resolve the crisis.
In a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Kerry complained of lack of positive steps from Russia to de-escalate Ukraine crisis.