Ukraine: Rus­sia ‘to re­spond if its in­ter­ests’ at­tacked

Daily Trust - - INTERNATIONAL -

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.

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