A reported comment by President Vladimir Putin that Russia could capture Ukraine`s capital Kiev within two weeks was taken out of context, Itar-Tass news agency quoted a Kremlin foreign policy aide as saying on Tuesday.
Ukraine`s military said on Monday its forces were battling a Russian tank battalion for control of a vital airport in the east of the country as President Petro Poroshenko accused Moscow of "direct and open aggression" against his country.
Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the EU on Monday to show "common sense" and not to engage in mutually destructive sanctions, in his first reaction to the threat of additional punitive measures over Ukraine.
Setting the stage for a NATO summit dominated by the worst East-West tensions in decades, President Barack Obama will go to Estonia this week with a simple message for Vladimir Putin -- don`t mess with NATO`s ex-Soviet members.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called on Sunday for immediate talks on the "statehood" of southern and eastern Ukraine, although his spokesman said this did not mean Moscow now endorsed rebel calls for independence for territory they have seized.
After months of hesitation, the EU on Saturday agreed to impose economic sanctions against Russia, hoping this "strong warning" would make it change course in Ukraine as fighting intensified around cities held by pro-Russian rebels.
President Vladimir Putin said on Friday Russia's armed forces, backed by its nuclear arsenal, were ready to meet any aggression, declaring at a pro-Kremlin youth camp that foreign states should understand: "It's best not to mess with us."
Blaming Russia for the escalating violence in eastern Ukraine, US President Barack Obama has said that Moscow was deliberately and repeatedly violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.