Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Russia state media that Moscow wants Ukraine to be a federation and autonomy for Russian speakers. The Ukraine Foreign Ministry said Russia is looking for ways to break up Ukraine.
“Why does Russia not introduce federalism … Why does it not give more powers to national regions of the (Russian) Federation .. Why does it not introduce state languages, other than Russian, including Ukrainian, which is spoken by millions of Russians?”, it asked.
“There’s no need to preach to others. It’s better to put things in order in your own house,” it said.
“Under the barrels of their machine-guns, this aggressor seeks only one thing – the total capitulation of Ukraine, its break-up and the destruction of the Ukrainian state,” it said.
Lavrov tried to bring up this subject during his four hour meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry, but Kerry shot it down since Ukraine was not at the meeting. He said it would be inappropriate.
Ukraine and the West are concerned Russia will invade east Ukraine due to a buildup in troops on the border. Levrov told the media Russia does not have any plans to invade or expand farther than Crimea. On March 21, President Vladimir Putin officially annexed Crimea from Ukraine after Crimeans overwhelmingly voted to join the Russian Federation.
Lavrov also said “Moscow wanted greater autonomy for southern and eastern parts of Ukraine where many ethnic Russians live.” This statement did not ease any fears since it is the exact same excuse Russia used to justify the Crimean invasion.