MOSCOW, April 25 (RIA Novosti) – The escalation of the crisis in Ukraine could lead to a further cooling of relations between Russia and the United States, the Russian ambassador to the UN has said.
“Of course, it is evident that our relations have become cooler to a certain degree. If the Ukrainian crisis continues deepening, we cannot exclude that the cooling [of relations] will worsen,” Vitaly Churkin said in an interview on the Rossiya 1 channel on Thursday.
“We want to think that this is not like this,” Churkin said, responding to a question on the possibility of a new Cold War.
Churkin added that during talks with Samantha Power, his US counterpart, he heard nothing promising in Washington’s approaches to settling the crisis, particularly in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slaviansk.
He said that in the phone conversation, Power repeated US calls for Russia to resolve the crisis, while failing to demand that Ukrainian authorities comply with the April 17 agreement reached in Geneva.
The US also denies having encouraged Kiev to use force against pro-federalization protesters. “If what they say is really true that means that the Kiev authorities are either not listening to Americans or are always putting them in a difficult and adverse situation,” he said.
Washington does not want to allocate money for Ukraine and seeks to shift the economic burden onto Russia, Churkin said. “They want Russia to help Ukraine economically, and they would simply place the political figures on a chessboard. They are not ready to give money,” he said.
Churkin said he called on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in a phone conversation to publicly condemn Ukraine’s decision to use force against the political opposition in the east of the country.
“I explained to him the situation and explained that it is important to resume the fulfillment of the April 17 Geneva deal,” he said.
In a bid to de-escalate the ongoing conflict, top diplomats from Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union approved a statement on April 17 calling on the sides in Ukraine to refrain from violence, extremism and provocations, disarm militants and launch a national dialogue on constitutional reform.
In violation of the Geneva deal, Ukrainian authorities launched a special operation to crack down on pro-federalization activists in eastern regions of the country that have been swept by rallies since last month.
Reports say up to five civilians were killed or wounded in an army assault on a protester checkpoint in Slaviansk early Thursday.