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Russia accuses US of inflaming Ukraine conflict

A report from the US State Department blaming Moscow for provocative action in Ukraine has been met with rebuke from Russian authorities. Moscow countered that Washington is forcing Kyiv to continue the war.

Russia responded on Thursday to claims made in a US State Department report that Russia was "continuing provocative actions in and around Ukraine."

A statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry countered that it was, in fact, the United States that was making the conflict in Ukraine worse by "pushing the current Kyiv authorities into continuing the fratricidal internal conflict."

Washington and some Western European countries have accused Russia of supplying pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine with arms and soldiers, and of increasing its military presence near the Russian border with Ukraine.

In the statement, Russia said it was not conducting any "unusual military activity."

Clashes continue

The deaths of three civilians and two soldiers were reported by the Ukrainian military on Thursday, as clashes continue between Ukrainian forces and the separatist rebels controlling part of the east.

Neither side is seen to be holding to the agreement known as Minsk II, which was reached in February after negotiations coordinated by France and Germany.

The report from the State Department also outlined Russian violations of a weapons treaty signed between the two nations in 1987, saying "the Russian Federation continued to be in violation of its obligations under the INF [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces] treaty." The treaty prohibits the possession, production or flight-test of a ground-launched cruise missile with a range of 500-5,000 kilometers (310-3,100 miles).

"The conclusion from the report is that the State Department still prefers the propagandistic approach to thoughtful, detailed and substantive discussion of problems (over implementation of arms control treaties)," read the Russian response, which denied its violation and accused the US of similar violations.

mz/sms (Reuters, AFP)

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