Germany and the United States have accused Russia of not respecting last week’s Geneva deal aimed at calming tensions in Ukraine.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday Russia’s attitude had escalated the violence and destabilisation in the region.
“I’m convinced that Russia has or could have the possibility to put the separatists in eastern Ukraine on a peaceful path of constitutional discussion and election preparation. So far, such signals have unfortunately been absent,” Merkel said.
Washington threatened Moscow with new sanctions over its actions in Ukraine.
“We are deeply concerned about reports that unidentified gunman have abducted a Vienna Document Inspection Team, that is of course part of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe), and their Ukrainian escorts in the town of Sloviansk. If true we strongly condemn this action and call for their immediate release. We condemn these repressive and cowardly tactics.” said US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki.
Meanwhile Russian president Vladimir Putin criticised the Ukrainian government’s decision to cut ties with Russia’s defence industry, saying Ukrainian jobs would be at risk: “In the context of acute state crisis the Ukrainian defence industry is practically deprived of the state’s support. We all understand very well that a possible break-up of cooperation ties may become critical for the defence industry of Ukraine”.