Russia's Lavrov dismisses U.S. criticism over Ukraine

by Reuters
Tuesday, 8 April 2014 10:15 GMT

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MOSCOW, April 8 (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed on Tuesday U.S. accusations that Moscow was destabilising Ukraine and said the situation could improve only if Kiev took account of the interests of mainly Russian-speaking regions.

Moscow and Washington are at loggerheads over the conflict in Ukraine, where Russia has seized Crimea and says it has the right to protect Russian speakers and ethnic Russians from what it describes as a threat from far-right leaders in Kiev.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Lavrov on Monday that Russia would suffer consequences if it further destabilised Ukraine.

But at a news conference in Moscow with Angolan Foreign Minister Georges Chikoti, Lavrov said: "One should not seek to put the blame on someone else."

Ukrainian law enforcement bodies are trying to take back control of public buildings in eastern Ukraine that were seized by pro-Moscow crowds in assaults which Kiev has accused Moscow of orchestrating to dismember the country.

Lavrov said: "We are deeply convinced ... that the situation cannot be calmed down and changed into national dialogue if the Ukrainian authorities go on ignoring the interests of the southeastern regions of the country." (Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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