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Home News Russia has no desire to take over eastern Ukraine: Lavrov

Russia has no desire to take over eastern Ukraine: Lavrov

Published on 11/04/2014

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday that Moscow does not want to invade eastern and southern Ukraine and denied the presence of any soldiers or spies there.

Speaking on a TV show Friday evening, Lavrov said sending troops to eastern Ukraine, where a separatist movement is demanding independence, would not be in Russia’s interests.

“We cannot have such desires,” he said on the state-run Rossiya channel when asked if Russia wants to take over south and east Ukraine. “That goes against Russia’s fundamental interests.”

He also denied that Russia had sent any security agents to the region as alleged by Ukrainian authorities.

“We are accused of having agents of our security services there. They are not there,” Lavrov said.

“We have no troops there by definition,” he added. “We don’t have our soldiers there, and we don’t have our agents there.

“There are Russian citizens there…. But that is not surprising, since on the Maidan there were all kinds of people… even Swiss extremists,” he said, referring to Independence Square in Kiev, the locus of mass protests that brought down Ukraine’s pro-Russian government earlier this year.

The new government in Kiev has accused Moscow of stirring unrest in its predominantly Russian-speaking regions to the east, including the towns of Donetsk and Lugansk, where pro-Russian protesters have occupied government buildings and are demanding independence.

Ukraine’s security service said on Wednesday it had detained a 22-year-old Russian female spy carrying a weapon who was suspected of carrying out sabotage on the orders of the Russian security service in the southern city of Mykolayiv.