Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that any attempts to start a new military conflict in Ukraine’s war-torn east could end up destroying Ukraine.
The comments come amid tensions after Ukraine’s commander-in-chief this week accused Moscow of building up forces near their shared border and said that pro-Russian separatists were systematically violating a ceasefire.
"Those who will try to start a new war in Donbas will destroy Ukraine," Lavrov said in an interview with Russian media Channel One.
"According to the information published in the media, most of the military understand the perniciousness of any action to launch a hot conflict. I very much hope they will not be incited by politicians, who, in turn, will be incited by the West led by the United States," Lavrov said.
The Russian diplomat noted lots of "speculation" observed about the documents recently approved by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and signed by President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also said that Russia was "moving troops within its own territory at its own discretion, and this shouldn't concern anyone."
World leaders voiced concern
The US State Department said it was "absolutely concerned by recent escalations of Russian aggressive and provocative actions in eastern Ukraine."
Ukrainian President Zelensky accused Moscow of seeking to create a "threatening atmosphere," said Ukraine's strategy is peace.
NATO defence attaches of the US, Canada and UK said they are watching the situation in Ukraine closely, assured Ukraine of the support in defending its sovereignty and territorial integrity.