Russia accuses West of seeking regime change in Moscow over Ukraine
Russia on Saturday accused the West of seeking regime change in Moscow, raising tensions over the conflict in Ukraine in the worst crisis in relations since the end of the Cold War.
Kiev: Russia on Saturday accused the West of seeking regime change in Moscow, raising tensions over the conflict in Ukraine in the worst crisis in relations since the end of the Cold War.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke out against Western sanctions on Russia after US Vice President Joe Biden hinted Friday at possible further measures over its "unacceptable" role in the former Soviet state.
Kiev's defence minister charged Saturday that there were 7,500 Russian troops in eastern Ukraine, although Russia denies claims that it provides military support to pro-Moscow separatists locked in conflict with government forces.
"The West is showing unambiguously that they do not want to force (Russia) to change policy, they want to achieve a change of regime," Lavrov told a forum of political analysts in Moscow.
"Now public figures in Western countries are saying that it's necessary to introduce sanctions that would destroy the economy and rouse public protests," he added in comments cited by TASS news agency.
The United States and European Union have imposed several rounds of sanctions on Moscow over Ukraine targeting the key energy, defence and finance sectors. These have sent the ruble into freefall and inflation soaring.
On a visit to Kiev on Friday, Biden accused Russia of failing to honour a peace agreement signed in September, which includes a tattered ceasefire in eastern Ukraine.
"So long as that continues, Russia will face rising costs, greater isolation," Biden added.
Some 4,300 people have been killed in the conflict in seven months, according to the United Nations. Nearly 1,000 have died since the ceasefire came into effect.