Russian Foreign Ministry Points to British and U.S. Role in Driving Ukraine Violence
July 5, 2014 • 10:54AM

In a sharply worded statement Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that "Kiev's attempts to resolve problems exclusively through the use of force, ultimata, and constant new demands" was undercutting the agreements among the foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, France, and Germany on moving toward a negotiated de-escalation of the civil war in eastern Ukraine, reached July 2 in Berlin.

The statement linked the latest escalation and civilian casualties to pressure from the United States and Britain, noting that they occurred after two phone calls that took place Thursday: between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and President Barack Obama, and between Ukraine's Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin and British Foreign Secretary William Hague.

The Russian Foreign Ministry objected to a British Foreign Office commentary, which "contains worn-out and unproven accusations against Russia for supposedly supplying weapons to the militias." Also noted in the Russian statement was a report by the U.S. think tank Stratfor, that the Ukrainian military is receiving data for targeting purposes from countries in the West. "The question has to be asked: which of Ukraine's foreign partners is actually involved in the conflict in the east?"

The Russian Foreign Ministry went on to catalog the extensive destruction of infrastructure and bombardment of residential neighborhoods in Lugansk, Kramatorsk, and Slavyansk Thursday, including civilian deaths. Two children were among the additional 20 civilians killed during the previous 24 hours. According to Russian TV reports, journalists from Russia's Channel 5 came under fire while filming a story on the Russian side of the border. In Lugansk, the local cancer treatment center was shelled. A section of Lugansk (population 425,000) is without electricity. Water rationing is in effect in Donetsk. Russian Health Minister Dr. Veronica Skvortsova broadcast an appeal to her Ukrainian counterparts to open a humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of wounded and sick people from hospitals working with drastic water, medicines and blood shortages, into Russia.

In Kiev, Poroshenko met again with leaders of the party caucuses of the Supreme Rada, telling them that further talks and a ceasefire in the Donbass are possible only if all sides observe the conditions of his "peace plan." Those include disarming of the militias. "There will be no unilateral ceasefire," he said. Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry Sergei Lavrov noted in a press appearance that self-disarmament of the militias is unrealistic, as long as Army and National Guard units are attacking eastern cities. Some of the latter were formed only recently out of fascist gangs from the Maidan coup process. For example, a commander of the Azov Battalion admitted wiping out an entire street near Lugansk, killing 12 people, "by mistake"; the commander was Ihor Moziychuk, a well-known Right Sector thug from the Ukrainian Patriot paramilitary group.

Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) chief Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, a Right Sector sponsor, gave a press conference Friday, announcing that a ceasefire will be possible only after the entire Russian-Ukrainian border is under Ukrainian control. He also announced charges against well-known Russian TV personality Dmitri Kiselyov and an aide to the just-dismissed Ukrainian defense minister, for "financing separatism and terrorism" through Russian banks and Kiselyov's International Press Institute. National Security and Defense Council boss Andriy Parubiy, the founder of Ukrainian Patriot and ex-Commandant of the Maidan, held his own press conference, charging that Russia aims to keep eight regions of Ukraine in a state of permanent destabilization. At the same time, he claimed that Kiev now controls 23 out of 36 district in the Donbass. He said that there may soon be a declaration of martial law (something he had opposed three days ago, as potentially disrupting the offensive). Parubiy claimed that Russia is pouring weapons in, under cover of humanitarian relief.