Ukraine: Russia ‘to respond if its interests’ attacked
Russia has said it will respond if its “legitimate interests” are attacked, as Ukraine announced it had ended an Easter truce and was relaunching “antiterrorist” operations against pro-Russian separatists on its territory.
In an interview with Russia Today, Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said that “Russian citizens being attacked is an attack against the Russian Federation”.
He referenced the Georgian war of 2008, where Russia invaded Georgia after Tblisi attacked rebels in the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia, which had aligned itself with Moscow.
“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.”
The comments were released after the Vitaly Yarema, Ukraine’s acting first deputy prime minister, said “appropriate measures” were being taken against pro-Russian separatists in the country’s east.
“We have obtained the support of the United States, that they will not leave us alone with an aggressor. We hope that in the event of Russian aggression, this help will be more substantive.”
The announcement came a day after the US vice president, Joe Biden, ended his two-day visit to Ukraine, the highest profile US politician to have travelled to the country. Lavrov said that it was no coincidence that the resumption of operations came after Biden’s visit, and charged that the US was “running the show”.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan speaks to the media in his office in Ankara, Turkey yesterday.