US arms supply to Ukraine worst idea: Russia diplomat
A senior Russian diplomat has warned against a proposal by the United States to supply weapons to Ukraine, calling it the “the worst idea under the current circumstances.”
Russia’s envoy to EU Vladimir Chizhov made the remarks in an interview on Friday with the online news outlet EurActiv in the Belgian capital Brussels.
Calling for a peaceful solution to the crisis, the Russian ambassador further said supplying Kiev with arms could escalate the armed conflict between government troops and pro-Russia forces in Ukraine’s east.
“This is a civil conflict, which can be resolved only by political means. Those, who pour oil on the flame, will be responsible for the continuing fighting and further victims,” said Chizhov.
The remarks by Chizhov come as ten US senators, including Chairman of US Senate Committee on Armed Services John McCain, have urged President Barack Obama’s administration to supply Kiev with lethal arms.
No Russian boots on Ukraine’s soil
Elsewhere in the interview, Chizhov spoke of the West’s claims that thousands of Russian soldiers are present in eastern Ukraine, denying the allegation as “pure fantasy.”
“How can you imagine the presence of thousands of soldiers in a relatively small territory to be invisible? How can you imagine if troops in such numbers are engaged in fighting no one has got killed, no one has been captured, no document or ID has been seized to be shown on TV? No plausible imagery has been shown, either by satellite or from the ground,” said Chizhov.
The US and its allies have repeatedly accused Moscow of sending troops into eastern Ukraine in support of the pro-Russia forces. Moscow, however, denies any involvement.
The two mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine have been the scene of deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations to silence protests there in mid-April 2014.
Violence intensified in May last year after the two flashpoint regions held local referendums in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine and joining the Russian Federation.
The fighting has left over 5,300 people dead and more than 12,200 wounded, according to the UN.