Ukraine faced more protests in the east over the weekend and on Monday morning, Donetsk claimed independence from Ukraine. Interim President Oleksandr Turchynov and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk pointed the finger at Russia, but Moscow told Ukraine to stop blaming them.
“Stop … blaming all the troubles of today’s Ukraine on it (Moscow),” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“If irresponsible treatment of one’s country, one’s nation, by the political forces who call themselves the Ukrainian authorities continues, Ukraine will inevitably be facing new troubles and crises,” it said.
Moscow also said the situation in Donetsk is more proof Ukraine needs to become a federation.
“Russia is closely watching the events that are unfolding in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, in particular in the Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions,” the document said.
“As Russia has said repeatedly, it is hard to count on long-term stabilization of the Ukrainian state without a real constitutional reform in Ukraine, in the framework of which the interests of all regions of the country are guaranteed via federalization, its non-aligned status is preserved, and the special role of the Russian language is stipulated,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
The Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions have seen protests by pro-Russians on a weekly basis since the new Kyiv government ousted Russia-backed president Viktor Yanukovych on February 22. A few protests were violent, which led to pro-Ukrainians staying away. On Sunday, pro-Russians captured an administration building in Donetsk and on Monday morning declared the region the Donetsk People’s Republic.
On March 30, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Russian media Ukraine needed to be a federation and grant autonomy for the Russian speakers. East Ukraine is home to many ethnic Russians and the older generation have said they want to follow in Crimea’s footsteps. Moscow officially annexed the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine on March 21.