Russia rebuffs U.S. for declaring Putin's comments on Ukraine false

by Reuters
Thursday, 6 March 2014 16:37 GMT

MOSCOW, March 6 (Reuters) - Russia on Thursday dismissed as "primitive distortion of reality", cynicism and double standards a U.S. Department of State fact sheet that called President Vladimir Putin's comments on the crisis in Ukraine false.

Moscow and the West are locked in a Cold War-style tug-of-war over Ukraine, where a regional parliament in Crimea on Thursday voted to join Russia after a pro-Western popular revolt in Kiev toppled a Moscow-backed president.

With the document titled "President Putin's Fiction: 10 False Claims About Ukraine", Washington has dropped diplomatic niceties and all but accused Moscow of lying about events in Ukraine.

"It's clear that in Washington, as before, they are unable to accept a situation developing not according to their templates," Alexander Lukashevich, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, said in a statement.

The U.S. fact sheet, released on Wednesday as a response to Putin's public comments the day earlier on the crisis in Ukraine, said the Russian president had ignored or distorted facts in "justifying Russian aggression in the Ukraine."

Putin said Russia reserved the right to use force in Ukraine as a last resort; that it was local self-defence groups, not Russian soldiers, who took control over Crimea; and that the new authorities in Kiev were not legitimate.

Responding to the State Department's highly unusual move, since it typically does not issue public statements that a foreign leader is being untruthful, the Russian ministry's statement contained equally harsh rhetoric.

"We will not come down to disputing low-grade propaganda," it said. "Yet for another time, we are facing an unacceptable arrogance and claims to ultimate truth on the side of the United States."

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