Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov turned the tables on the U.S. in an interview with Russia Today, accusing Washington of stirring trouble in Ukraine and saying, again, that his country reserves the right to attack if needed, but that it hasn't sent in troops yet.
“There is no reason not to believe that the Americans are running the show,” he said, and continued by insulting the U.S. more generally:
Ukraine is just one manifestation of the American unwillingness to yield in the geopolitical fight. Americans are not ready to admit that they cannot run the show in each and every part of the globe from Washington alone.
On the subject of whether or not Russia is planning on taking action in Ukraine, Lavrov said only, "If we are attacked, we would certainly respond."
The harsh words follow a brief respite in the U.S.-Russia standoff, which came in the form of a short-lived truce agreement in Geneva last week. The deal required both sides to work to prevent an escalation of violence in Ukraine, implying that Russia should clear government buildings in east Ukraine of pro-Russia separatists, and that Ukraine should hold off from sending soldiers or law enforcement to the region. Russia did not hold up its end of the deal, and Ukraine's acting President Oleksandr Turchynov announced on Tuesday that they will renew "counter-terrorism" efforts by sending security forces into the east. Turchynov explained that the decision was prompted by the discovery of two tortured bodies of people likely abducted by separatists, and an apparent attack on a Ukrainian military aircraft, saying:
[Terrorists] are beginning to torture and kill Ukrainian patriots. They are impudently rejecting the calls of not only our country but of all the world's society when they demonstratively mock the decisions taken in Geneva... These crimes are being done with the full support and connivance of Russia.
Despite Turchynov's rather clear justification for the initiative, Lavrov suspects Washington is behind this effort as well. He said, "it’s quite telling they chose the moment of the Vice President of the U.S.’ visit to announce the resumption of this operation because the launching of this operation happened immediately after [head of the CIA] John Brennan’s visit to Kiev."
Meanwhile, international leaders continue to try to reason with Russia's government, with little success.
Have spoken to Foreign Minister Lavrov to urge Russia to take visible steps to implement Geneva #Ukraine agreement— William Hague (@WilliamJHague) April 23, 2014
Secretary of State John Kerry also asked Lavrov to help de-escalate the situation by publicly calling on separatists in east Ukraine to stand down. So far, these conversations appear to have been fruitless.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.