MOSCOW, December 27. /TASS/. Russia does not rule out that the West wants to stage ‘a small war’ in Ukraine and pin the blame on Moscow so as to impose sanctions under this pretext and suppress Russia’s competitive advantages, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an exclusive interview for the Soloviev Live YouTube channel on Monday.
"I do not rule out that there is such a desire to fuel militaristic sentiments [in Ukraine] to stage a ‘small war' and then accuse us and impose new sanctions to suppress our competitive advantages," Russia’s top diplomat said.
The Russian foreign minister also drew attention to the position widely spread in the West on using preventive sanctions against Russia, under which demands were made to impose restrictions right now and remove them, if there was no real standoff with Ukraine.
"It is understandable that they will never lift them," Russia’s top diplomat said.
Western countries and Kiev have lately claimed that Russia is possibly gearing up to invade Ukraine. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov branded these allegations as empty and groundless, serving as a ploy to escalate tensions.
The Russian presidential spokesman did not rule out, however, that provocations might be staged to justify the attempts to resolve the crisis in southeastern Ukraine through military means. He also assured that Moscow was taking all possible efforts to help Kiev settle the conflict in Donbass, while remaining committed to the Normandy format and the Minsk Agreements.