MOSCOW, February 12. /TASS/. Russia has made a decision to optimize the staff of its diplomatic missions in Ukraine amid possible provocations from the Kiev regime or third countries, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement released on Saturday.
"In this situation, in the wake of possible provocations by the Kiev regime or third countries, we have, indeed, made a decision on some optimization of the staff of Russian overseas missions in Ukraine. We want to highlight that our embassy and consulates will keep performing their basic functions," the statement says.
"Considering the substantial influence that Washington and London have on Kiev and, generally, their role in governing the processes in Ukraine - let us just mention the efforts of beefing it up with weapons and instructors - we can make a conclusion that our American and British colleagues, apparently, know about some violent acts being prepared in Ukraine that can considerably complicate the security situation," Zakharova stressed.
The diplomatic missions of various countries located in Ukraine have been lately reporting that they are evacuating their staff from that country or are considering this possibility over the escalation of tension there. The Russian embassy in Kiev earlier said that it was considering the temporary departure from Ukraine of its nonessential staff.
The West and Kiev have recently been spreading allegations about Russia’s potential ‘invasion’ of Ukraine. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov castigated these claims as "empty and unfounded," serving as a ploy to escalate tensions, pointing out that Russia did not pose any threat whatsoever to anyone. However, Peskov did not rule out the possibility of provocations aimed at justifying such allegations and warned that attempts to use military force to resolve the crisis in southeastern Ukraine would have very serious consequences.