Lavrov urges calm after Ukraine flare-up over Crimea
Russia accused Kiev of attempting armed incursions into the region, which Kremlin seized in 2014
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday appealed for calm after a flare-up with Ukraine over the annexed Crimea peninsula but warned Moscow was ready to stamp out any attempts to destabilize the region.
A simmering feud between Russia and Ukraine sparked by the Kremlin's seizure of Crimea in 2014 burst back into life on Wednesday when Russia accused Kiev of attempting armed incursions into the region.
Ukraine fiercely denied the allegations but a subsequent war of words sparked fears of a wider conflict between the two ex-Soviet neighbors.
Lavrov said Moscow remained committed to a stalled European-brokered peace plan to end fighting in two eastern regions between Kiev and pro-Russian rebels and cautioned against succumbing to “emotions”.
“For now the main thing is not to give in to emotions, not to slip into taking some extreme actions but to try to stabilize the situation with restraint and concentration,” Lavrov said following talks with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier in the city of Yekaterinburg.
Lavrov, however, warned that Moscow would take “comprehensive measures to make sure any attempts to make incursions into our territory are nipped in the bud”.
Russia’s FSB security service said last week that one of its officers and a soldier died in clashes as Moscow thwarted “terrorist attacks” in Crimea by Ukrainian military intelligence and beat back armed assaults.
Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged not to let the alleged incidents go unpunished but his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko dismissed the accusations as “fantasies” aimed at giving a pretext for Moscow to ramp up its aggression.
Steinmeier said that while the details of the latest flare-up in Crimea remained unclear, Germany was concerned by the surge in tensions.
Berlin’s top diplomat said he and Lavrov discussed the possibility of getting four-way peace talks with Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France back on track after Putin appeared to pull the plug on a mooted fresh round next month.
Ukraine accuses Russia of plotting unrest amid Crimea tensionsUkraine on Friday accused Russia of planning to stoke further unrest as the international community sought to ease tensions World News
European leaders call for ‘immediate’ peace in UkraineThe call comes as a Ukrainian soldier was killed and three others injured in a mortar attack by pro-Russian insurgents in the country’s east World News
Nearly 10,000 people killed, 20,000 injured in Ukraine conflictNearly 10,000 people have been killed and more than 20,000 injured since the Ukraine conflict began in April 2014, a top UN official said Thursday. ... World News
Russia ‘still sending troops and weapons’ to East UkraineKiev and Moscow finalized a ceasefire deal in Minsk last February, but sporadic clashes still took place on the frontline World News