By Elena Teslova
MOSCOW (AA) - Russia is not going to attack Ukraine, and even the thought of a war breaking out between the two countries is unacceptable, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexei Zaitsev said Thursday.
Speaking at a weekly briefing in Moscow, Zaitsev said "certain Western countries" are escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine, trying to break apart the "historically united people of Russia and Ukraine" as well as creating "a hotbed of instability in Europe" and aggravating Russia's relations with the European Union.
"We are convinced that if the West had not been interfering, the conflict in eastern Ukraine would have been settled a long time ago. And the conflict itself, which began with the nationalists coming to power in Kiev, most likely would not have happened," Zaitsev said.
The spokesman pointed out that Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov as well as National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said they do not see any grounds to believe that Russia is preparing an invasion.
"For our part, we have repeatedly stated that our country is not going to attack anyone. We consider even the idea of a war between our peoples unacceptable.
"However, the overseas curators of Ukraine think differently. It seems that they intend to firmly adhere to the scenario they have come up with, according to which Russia has to attack Ukraine…And they are trying to do everything possible to bring it to life," he added.
To support the claims about a Russian invasion, the Western countries are evacuating their diplomatic personnel and increasing arms supplies, artificially rising tensions, he added.
"They even name the planned time of Russia's ‘attack’ on Ukraine: sometime between now and mid-February," he noted.
Those, who contradict the mainstream are ostracized, with Croatia's President Zoran Milanovic added to the "execution list" of Myrotvorets’ database, Zaitsev said, referring to a Ukrainian website that shames pro-Russia voices, adding former German Navy Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach was recently forced to resign for comments supportive of Russia.
"With such a destructive influence, it is not surprising that there is no progress in the negotiations between Kyiv, Donetsk and Lugansk on the settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine," he stressed.
According to Zaitsev an eight-hour meeting earlier this week of the presidential advisers of the “Normandy Four” countries -- Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine -- was difficult, and its main result was the confirmation by all sides of the necessity of the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
"We hope that at the next meeting scheduled in Berlin in two weeks it will be possible to find solutions to the problems that have accumulated over seven years, and the issue of the status of Donbas will move from the ‘dead point’," he said.
Zaitsev called on the Ukrainian authorities to "show independence," to think about the interests of their own country, and to find in a direct dialogue with breakaway regions a political solution to the conflict.
"We expect that the NATO countries will stop fomenting the conflict in the east of Ukraine, refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of this country, which should allow the contracting Ukrainian parties to resolve their differences in direct dialogue amongst themselves," he said.
Last November, the US State Department claimed that Russia was preparing for an invasion of Ukraine.
The US approved $200 million in military assistance to Kyiv and urged their European partners to increase arms supplies to Ukraine.
This year, the arms shipments have been arriving in Ukraine in large amounts.
To support their theory, the US also announced that Russia had evacuated its diplomatic staff from Ukraine, a move normally preceding the beginning of a war.
After Russia denied the allegations, the US pulled its diplomatic personnel from Ukraine, and some European countries followed their advice.
In order to ease tensions, Germany and France organized a meeting of the Normandy Four presidential advisers, which took place in Paris earlier this week.
The talks in Paris lasted over eight hours non-stop and led to some de-escalation. Also, all parties confirmed their adherence to the Minsk agreements, suggesting a solution to the conflict through direct dialogue between Kyiv, Donetsk and Luhansk.