0808 GMT January 24, 2022
In recent weeks fighting has intensified between Ukraine's Army and pro-independence forces controlling two regions in the country's east, raising concerns of major escalation in the long-running conflict, according to AFP.
"Of course, nobody is planning to move toward war and in general, nobody accepts the possibility of such a war," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a televised interview on Sunday.
President Vladimir Putin's spokesman added that "nobody also accepts the possibility of civil war in Ukraine".
Peskov insisted that Moscow is not involved in the conflict, adding, however, that Russia "will not remain indifferent" to the fate of Russian speakers who live in the conflict-torn region.
"Russia is making every possible effort to help resolve this conflict. And we will continue to explain this tirelessly," Peskov said.
Ukraine has accused Russia of amassing thousands of military personnel on its northern and eastern borders as well as on the Crimean peninsula.
The Kremlin has not denied the troop movements but insisted that Moscow does not intend to threaten anyone.
The White House this week said the number of Russian troops at the border with Ukraine was now greater than at any time since 2014, when the conflict erupted in the region.
Fighting subsided in 2020 as a cease-fire agreement took hold last July, but clashes have picked up again since the start of the year, with each side blaming the other.
On Thursday Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the eastern frontline, speaking with soldiers in the trenches.
According to the president, 26 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed since January, compared to 50 in all of 2020.
Zelensky also paid a one-day visit to Turkey on Saturday to discuss the recent developments with his Turkish counterpart.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for the “worrying” developments in eastern Ukraine to come to an end after meeting his Ukrainian counterpart in Istanbul.
Speaking at a news conference alongside Zelensky, Erdogan said he hoped the conflict would be resolved peacefully, through dialogue based on diplomatic customs, in line with international laws and Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
“We hope for the worrying escalation observed on the field recently to end as soon as possible, the cease-fire to continue and for the conflict to be resolved via dialogue on the basis of the Minsk agreements,” Erdogan said. “We are ready to provide any support necessary for this.”
Since 2014, the conflict in Ukraine's east has claimed more than 14,000 lives and displaced many others, while negotiations for a lasting peace deal have stalled.
The Kremlin added on Sunday that some of the conditions outlined in the Minsk peace accords on eastern Ukraine must be met before a further round of peace talks can go ahead, according to Reuters.
Political advisers are working on a possible round of such talks under the so-called Normandy format, Peskov said.
The Normandy format brought together the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France to help end the conflict in eastern Ukraine.