× Russia accuses US of 'hysteria' over possible Ukraine invasion: 'Whipped up artificially'
BRUSSELS — The Kremlin accused the United States on Monday of playing “unjustified fear into the atmosphere” ahead of NATO summit later this week.
President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said “the atmosphere is being used to whip up artificially” the kind of hysteria that erupted in US media last week.
He rejected claims that the Kremlin was behind the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain and threatened Russia would use “all sorts of means” if Ukraine started to send troops or weapons into Russia-annexed Crimea.
Peskov said that no such plans had been made and insisted that no Russian troops were currently on the ground in the country, although he acknowledged that Russian military experts were monitoring the situation.
The comments came hours after Ukrainian officials and Russia appeared to lay to rest a ban on hundreds of their common goods.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it “acknowledges and is glad about the law passed on May 18, 2019 in Ukraine which protects Russian-Ukrainian consumers against having contracts violated.”
Vladimir Poroshenko, the Ukrainian president, welcomed Russia’s announcement.
“On May 18, I took the decision to avoid the intensification of Russia’s competition with Ukraine,” he said in a tweet.
On May 18, I took the decision to avoid the intensification of Russia’s competition with Ukraine.
I am glad to see that Russia will obey what the Ukrainian government has decided and will stop providing violation of Ukrainian rights. — Vladimir Poroshenko (@VladimirPutin) May 20, 2019
Peskov said that certain kinds of Ukrainian commodities would be back on the market on Monday, although he did not name the goods.
“We understand what impact it has on Ukraine and we get threats from their representatives that if there are such sanctions imposed again, the consequences will be severe,” he said, but added, “whether they will follow through on these threats, that’s too soon to say.”
After a meeting on Friday, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said that Ukraine had “made clear that it is not looking for a war.”
Also on Friday, France and Germany, Russia’s biggest political allies, said they saw “no justification” for a new round of Ukraine-Russia hostilities, while Turkey refused to offer any additional support for the peace deal negotiated last fall.
Eastern Ukraine is still in a state of war between the Kiev government and Russia-backed separatists in the country’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
The standoff, which began in 2014, resulted in the annexation of Crimea by Russia and a conflict that has claimed more than 10,000 lives.
CNN’s Soniya Melnik contributed to this report.