Moscow: Russia does not want a new Cold War, President Vladimir Putin`s spokesman said on Friday, as tensions rose over Russian-backed demands by Crimea to secede from Ukraine.
Dmitry Peskov was asked on a chat show on state television whether he could foresee a return to the clash of ideologies that polarised the world between 1945 and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
"I would not want there to be," he said. "I believe this is not the case. I believe it has not started. And I would like to believe that it will not start."
Peskov, Putin`s official mouthpiece, was speaking after both houses of Russia`s parliament endorsed calls by Crimean lawmakers for their peninsula to sever ties with Ukraine and join Russia.
His comments also came after Russia`s state-run gas giant Gazprom ratcheted up the pressure on Kiev, saying it would cut off supplies if a $1.89 billion gas bill is not paid, in a move widely interpreted as having Kremlin backing.
The West has stood behind Ukraine`s new government, formed after the ouster of president Viktor Yanukovych last month who had been backed by Russia, and is threatening Moscow with sanctions in the worst East-West clash in over two decades.
"Despite the fact that there are deep differences... between Russia, European countries and the United States, there is... hope that as a result of dialogue we succeed in grasping points of agreement," said Peskov.