World Bulletin/News Desk
The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed concern on Wednesday about "militaristic statements" from Kiev after acting President Oleksander Turchinov said Ukraine's armed forces were on full military alert in case of a Russian invasion.
"We insist that Kiev immediately ceases the bellicose rhetoric, which is aimed at intimidating its own population," the Foreign Ministry said after Turchinov's comments on Wednesday, and called on Ukraine authorities to refrain from the use of force.
The West, which believes Moscow is involved in Ukraine's east where separatists have seized more public buildings in wrestling control away from Kiev, this week introduced fresh sanctions on Russia over Ukraine.
Russia denies Western allegations of fomenting separatist unrest in eastern Ukraine.
President Vladimir Putin held phone conversations with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Italy's Matteo Renzi on Wednesday, with short Kremlin statements afterwards highlighting consensus between the leaders.
Speaking during a trip to Chile, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also said Moscow would not retaliate immediately against the Western sanctions but would review that stance if measures targeting its economy were introduced.
Russia will not immediately take any retaliatory measures in response to Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis but could reassess that stance in the future, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also said on Wednesday.
"We are not going to act, to do stupid things ... we want to give our partners the possibility of calming down," Lavrov said at a news conference during a visit to Chile.
He said, however, Moscow could change its position depending on whether sanctions are prolonged or deepened.
"If their actions continue and they turn to economic measures, in that case we would further study the situation," he said in translated comments.
The United States and the European Union imposed new sanctions against Russia this week for its involvement in Ukraine and threatened tougher economic measures if Moscow does not de-escalate the crisis.
"We never act under pressure from anybody. We always act on national interests, international law and the full situation," Lavrov added on Wednesday. "What we're going to do is continue to call for observance of the Geneva declaration, which, frankly, our partners are trying to escape from."
Lavrov also called for the release of six military observers seized last week by separatists in eastern Ukraine.
"We want to make a call for the liberation of these European officials, who are probably scapegoats," Lavrov said.Last Mod: 30 Nisan 2014, 22:44