Russia will respond if its interests are attacked in Ukraine, as they were in South Ossetia in 2008 which led to war with Georgia, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday, AFP reports.
"If we are attacked, we would certainly respond," he told state-controlled RT television in an interview.
"If our interests, our legitimate interests, the interests of Russians have been attacked directly, like they were in South Ossetia for example, I do not see any other way but to respond in full accordance with international law."
Lavrov did not elaborate further on what the response would entail but the reference to Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia strongly hints at the possibility of military action.
In August 2008 Russia sent troops into South Ossetia and then into Tbilisi-controlled Georgian territory after then president Mikheil Saakashvili tried to reestablish control over the breakaway region.
Russia then recognised South Ossetia and another breakaway Georgian region, Abkhazia, as independent in defiance of the West.