World Bulletin/News Desk
Sergei Glazyev, an economic adviser to President Vladimir Putin with responsibility for ties with Ukraine, said the United States' economy and global standing had benefited in the past from wars in Europe.
"Now they (the United States) are unfurling a war in Ukraine, after organising a coup and putting their own people in charge, to use Ukraine as a detonator against Russia and Europe," Glazyev told reporters in the Kazakh capital, Astana.
"There is growing chaos in Ukraine, and the chaos is increasingly acquiring the traits of a global catastrophe," he said before Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan signed a treaty creating a new trading bloc.
Glazyev did not provide any evidence to support his comments but said unidentified foreign mercenaries had been seen arriving in Ukraine to fight pro-Russian armed rebels in the east.
His comments were characteristically confrontational for an adviser who has regularly staked out more radical positions than the Russian government or the Kremlin, which at times has distanced itself from his remarks.
The United States has denied instigating events which forced the removal of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, described by Moscow as a coup d'etat, and says it wants a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Washington has denied reports about U.S. mercenaries operating in Ukraine and says there is evidence of Russian support for the rebels there.
Pro-Russian separatists shot down a Ukrainian army helicopter on Thursday, killing 14 soldiers including a general, as government forces pressed ahead with an offensive to crush the rebellion.
Glazyev said the situation in Ukraine was already a "de facto war".
Glazyev said Ukraine's newly elected president, Petro Poroshenko, could be considered legitimate only if he halted a military operation to flush out the rebels in the east.
"The only the thing he could undertake to legitimise his position, would be to stop the clearly illegal and inhumane operation in the southeast," he said.
The government of the economically-ravaged country has for many years heavily subsidized petrol and Maduro says this has now led to a voracious black market in oil smuggled to neighbouring countries.
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