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Moscow to protect its interests

April 23, 2014

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said Moscow will respond if its interests are attacked in Ukraine. He also accused the US of "running the show" in Kyiv with the pro-Western interim government.

Image: Reuters

Foreign Minister Lavrov told the state-controlled RT English language television channel on Wednesday that Moscow will respond if its interests are attacked in Ukraine.

"If we are attacked, we would certainly respond. If our interests, our legitimate interests, the interests of Russians have been attacked directly, like they were in South Ossetia for example, I do not see any other way but to respond in accordance with international law," he said, referring to a separatist territory in Georgia where Moscow sent troops in 2008.

The interview is to be aired later Wednesday, according to RT's website.

According to excerpts from the interview, he also accused the US of "running the show" in Kyiv after Ukraine's pro-West interim government re-launched military operations against pro-Russia separatists. The move came as US Vice President Joe Biden was visiting the country.

"This means we have no reason not to believe that the Americans are running the show in the most direct way," said Lavrov.

Lavrov also reiterated his belief that the Ukrainian government had failed to hold up any of its obligations under the agreement reached in Geneva last week aimed at de-escalating the crisis.

"Nothing that was agreed in Geneva that the Kyiv authorities had to carry out has been implemented by them," he said.

Flashpoints in the east

Interim Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov announced on Tuesday the resumption of a military operation in the country's east aimed at retaking occupied government buildings from pro-Russia separatists.

The move coincided with a visit by US Vice President Biden who had earlier in the day assured Kyiv of Washington's support. The relaunch also came after a local politician's body had been found "brutally tortured" in the east of the country.

Pro-Moscow gunmen in Slavyansk have said they are holding American Simon Ostrovsky, a journalist for Vice News. A spokeswoman for the separatists, Stella Khorosheva, told the AP news agency that Ostrovsky is "fine" and is "suspected of bad activities." She did not give further details.

In a statement, Vice News says it "is in contact with the U.S. State Department and other appropriate government authorities to secure the safety and security of our friend and colleague, Simon Ostrovsky."

hc/dr (Reuters, AFP, AP)