The Ukrainian government is preparing a military operation in the rebel-held region of Donbass in the country’s east, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claims, adding that the European Union was aware of these plans, which will further destabilize the country.
"Europe more and more understands what is going on, including the new attempt of the Kiev authorities to use military force – and such plans are being nurtured,” Lavrov said according to the Russian-based media outlet Interfax. “The initiating military actions by Kiev would have severe, tragic consequences, especially for the Ukrainian people."
Europe and the United States claim that the rebels in Donbass are supported by the Russian government, which Moscow denies. The rebels say that they are seeking self-rule after the people in the eastern Ukraine rejected the coup that took place last year against the Russian-allied president.
Lavrov also said that European politicians say one thing to him in private that contradicts what they say in public about the situation in Ukraine.
“Alone, most of EU members tell me things I find quite sensible: that it was wrong to confront Russia over Ukraine, which, in fact, fell victim to this European Union policy that forced it to chose between the two,” the minister said in an interview.
The new government in Ukraine, led by Western-backed Petro Poroshenko, is seeking to join the EU and NATO in an attempt to defend the country from what it calls a westward Russian expansion.
Following the coup against President Viktor Yanukovych, which some refer to as the Ukrainian revolution, people in Donbass and Crimea rejected ousting Yanukovych and the new government.
Rebels took over the Crimea region in eastern Ukraine and held a referendum on rejoining Russia. The referendum won and Crimea was reunified with Russia. The U.S. and the EU claimed the Crimea rebels were also supported by Russia, which Moscow flatly denies.
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