Moscow: Russia will take retaliatory measures to defend its legitimate interests if the European Union imposes new sanctions over Moscow`s intervention in Ukraine, the country`s foreign ministry said Monday.
"The hysteria whipped up in the runup to European Council`s meeting around the mythical `Russian aggression in Ukraine` has yielded fruit," Efe quoted a foreign ministry statement as saying, referring to the conclusions that emerged from last Saturday`s gathering of EU leaders.
The EU holds Moscow responsible for what is happening in Ukraine based on "absolutely groundless allegations" and instead of contributing to an immediate ceasefire, the European bloc continues to ignore the real reasons behind the conflict, the Russian foreign ministry said.
Moscow says the crisis is due to Kiev`s refusal to recognise the "legitimate interests" of residents of eastern Ukraine, many of them ethnic Russians.
Moscow, according to the statement, "still hopes that the EU will be able to gain an independent perspective on the situation free from 20th century stereotypes and engage in constructive efforts to facilitate a settlement of Ukraine`s internal conflict."
Earlier in the day, Russia`s foreign minister said that his country will not intervene militarily in Ukraine.
"There will be no military interference. We are committed exclusively to the peaceful settlement of this deep crisis, this tragedy," Sergey Lavrov said in a speech at the Moscow State University of Foreign Affairs.