By Timothy Heritage
Russia accused the United States on Thursday of coercing Kiev into pressing on with the conflict in east Ukraine and urged Washington to fully implement a treaty on eliminating intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles.
In a statement responding to a US State Department report accusing Russia of violating its arms treaty obligations, the Russian Foreign Ministry also said Russia was not carrying out any “unusual military activity”.
“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),” the ministry said.
Accusing Washington of using “megaphone diplomacy”, it denied Russia had violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF) agreed in 1987 by the United States and the Soviet Union on eliminating nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of 500-5,500 km (310-3,417 miles).
Rejecting criticism of Russia over the conflict in Ukraine, the ministry said Washington was making no effort to resolve the crisis and was “pushing the current Kiev authorities into continuing the fratricidal intra-state conflict”.
The statement did not elaborate.
The United States has accused Russia of sending arms and soldiers to back pro-Russian separatists fighting government forces in east Ukraine and Western leaders have accused Moscow of building up forces near the border with Ukraine.
The Foreign Ministry noted that Moscow had repeatedly denied such accusations.