0828 GMT January 24, 2022
The statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov reflected the Kremlin’s determination to prevent Ukraine from using force to try to retake control over the territory in eastern Ukraine, according to AP.
The Russian president in a phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday expressed his concerns about provocative actions on the part of Kiev, according to TASS.
According to the Kremlin press service, Putin at Erdogan’s request "outlined Russian approaches to the resolution of the internal Ukrainian crisis." It was "emphasized that the 2015 Minsk Package of Measures is the only possible foundation for the settlement."
"At the same time, concern was expressed due to the fact that the Ukrainian side dodges implementation of the Minsk Agreements and lately resumed dangerous provocative actions directed at aggravating the situation along the line of engagement," the Kremlin noted.
Ukrainian troops and pro-independence forces have been fighting in eastern Ukraine shortly after people of the Crimean Peninsula voted to join Russia in 2014. More than 14,000 people have died in the conflict, and efforts to negotiate a political settlement have stalled.
Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of sending in troops and weapons to help pro-independence forces, accusations that Moscow has denied. The White House claims Russia now has more troops on its border with Ukraine than at any time since 2014.
Peskov said Russia is free to deploy its troops wherever it wants on its territory. He accused the Ukrainian military of an “escalation of provocative actions” along the line of control in the east that threatens Russia's security, according to AP.
“The Kremlin has fears that a civil war could resume in Ukraine. And if a civil war, a full-scale military action, resumes near our borders, that would threaten the Russian Federation's security,” Peskov said. “The ongoing escalation of tensions is quite unprecedented.”
US warships in Black Sea
A Turkish Foreign Ministry official said Friday the United States has notified Turkey that two US warships will sail to the Black Sea on April 14 and April 15 and stay there until May 4 and May 5. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government rules.
Such visits by the US and other NATO ships have vexed Moscow, which long has bristled at Ukraine's efforts to build up defense ties with the West and its aspirations to eventually join NATO.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned Friday that Ukraine's NATO bid “wouldn't only lead to a massive escalation of the situation in the southeast but could also entail irreversible consequences for the Ukrainian statehood.”