Moscow on Tuesday accused the United States and NATO countries of turning Ukraine into a “powder keg” after the West sounded the alarm over Russian soldiers massing on the border.
“The United States and other NATO countries are deliberately turning Ukraine into a powder keg,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying Russian news agencies, adding that countries were increasing their arms supplies to Ukraine.
Clashes between Ukrainian forces and Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine have increased in recent weeks, following which Russia has built up troops along the border, raising fears of a major escalation in the long-running conflict in Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking east.
“If there is any aggravation, we of course will do everything to ensure our security and the safety of our citizens, wherever they are, but Kiev and its allies in the West will be entirely responsible for the consequences of a hypothetical exacerbation,” Ryabkov said.
On Tuesday morning, a Ukrainian soldier was killed and two more injured near the village of Mayorske about 35 kilometers north of the separatist stronghold Donetsk when a drone dropped grenades on the positions of Kiev’s troops, the military said.
The Kremlin, which has not denied the troop movements along the border, has said it is not planning to go to war with Ukraine but also added that it “will not remain indifferent” to the fate of Russian speakers in the east.