Official: US Fueling Crisis in Ukraine

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. (Photo: Utenriksdepartementet UD/ cc/ Flickr)

Official: US Fueling Crisis in Ukraine

Tens of thousands of Ukrainian people displaced as a result from ongoing fighting in the east

The ongoing and violent crisis in Ukraine is being largely fueled by the United States, a top Russian diplomat charged on Saturday.

According to Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, peace within the warring country would be more likely if negotiations were left to Russia and Europe. However, as he told Rossiya 1 channel's news show Sergey Brilev's News on Saturday: "We also have partners across the ocean - our American colleagues - who, according to a lot of evidence, still favor pushing the Ukrainian leadership towards the path of confrontation."

Since the beginning of the year, upwards of 54,000 Ukrainians have become internally displaced, according to an estimate by the United Nations Refugee Agency released Friday. An additional 110,000 Ukrainian refugees have fled to Russia and other Eastern European countries to violence in eastern Ukraine, which continues to escalate despite a cease fire--which began last week and was extended until Monday after a Friday deadline passed without a peace deal.

"The rise in numbers of the past week coincides with a recent deterioration of the situation in eastern Ukraine," UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming told journalists in Geneva. "Displaced people cite worsening law and order, fear of abductions, human rights violations and the disruption of state services."

"Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko would like to ease tension and go on with the truce, but there are also other forces among the Ukrainian authorities - there are radicals still controlling or very closely cooperating with armed ultra nationalists, there is the 'Right Sector,' the battalions of Igor Kolomoysky and other serious groups, who do not obey Ukraine's Central Command and the Commander-in-Chief," Lavrov continued.

Despite his alleged support for reconciliation, on Friday the newly elected Ukrainian president signed a controversial economic and trade deal with the European Union. The austerity-driven agreement, which was the catalyst for the February revolt, is said to bring "sweeping changes" to the economy of the country.

Two other former Soviet republics, Georgia and Moldova, also signed the pact on Friday.

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