Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he believes Ukraine has descended into civil war.
Reiterating comments by other Russian leaders, he told businessmen at a conference in the city of St. Petersburg on Friday that there had been chaos since pro-Moscow President Vladimir Yanukovych was forced out of office in Ukraine in February, Reuters reported.
Putin said sanctions imposed on his country over the crisis in Ukraine would have a boomerang effect on the West.
"In the modern, interconnected world, economic sanctions as an instrument of political pressure can have a boomerang effect, and in the end they have an impact on the businesses and economies of the countries that initiated them," Putin said.
Criticizing the United States, he said the vision of a "unipolar" world had failed and hailed European companies for taking a more "pragmatic" approach to Russia.
He said Russia is ready to work with whoever is elected in the presidential elections on May 25 and that after the ballot all military actions must be stopped in the country.
Putin accused Western authorities in snobbism and unwillingness to open dialogue with Russia.
Lavrov warns against West’s expansion to the east
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian crisis is a natural result of the West’s expansion of its influence eastwards at the expense of Russian interests, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
“This stance ruins a historic chance for a unified continent,” Lavrov said, addressing a security conference in Moscow, according to RT.
“Our Western partners rejected a truly historic chance to build a greater Europe in favor of border lines and the habitual logic of expanding the geopolitical space under their control to the East,” Lavrov stressed. “This is de facto a continuation of a policy of containing Russia in a softer wrapping.”
Ukraine is just one example of the destructive results that Western foreign policies bring, Lavrov said.
In another development, pro-Russian separatists clashed with Ukrainian self-defense fighters near the eastern city of Donetsk on Friday, two days before the presidential election, and at least two people were killed, a Reuters witness and militia sources said.
The clash, after the deaths of at least 13 Ukrainian servicemen on Thursday in another firefight in the locality of Volnovakha, suggested there would be no let-up in violence in the east during Sunday's election.
Subscribe to our RSS feed to stay in touch and receive all of TT updates right in your feed reader