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Kremlin says Russia not moving toward war with neighboring Ukraine

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov

Russia says the country is not a party to the Ukrainian conflict and it is not moving toward war with its neighbor, as tensions are rising between Moscow and Kiev over the long-running conflict in Ukraine's eastern breakaway regions.

“Of course, nobody is planning to move towards war and in general, nobody accepts the possibility of such a war,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov in a televised interview on Sunday.

In recent weeks, tensions have mounted between Moscow and Kiev amid a spike in violence in the two Russian-speaking eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, which are almost collectively known as Donbas.

Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian forces have fought a conflict in Donbas that has killed 14,000 people since 2014 by Ukraine’s estimate.

The militants have already declared the formation of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics.

Kiev and its Western allies accuse Moscow of having a hand in the crisis by supporting the militants with weapons and troops, a charge Moscow strongly denies.

“Nobody also accepts the possibility of civil war in Ukraine,” Peskov further stressed.

He, however, said although Moscow is not by any means involved in the persisting conflict in the Donbas region, “Russia has always said that it would not be indifferent to the fate of the Russian speaking citizens, who are living in the country’s southeast.”

The Kremlin has time and again stressed the necessity of seeking a political solution to the deadly conflict.

“Russia is making every possible effort to help resolve this conflict. And we will continue to explain this tirelessly,” Peskov further said.

Ukraine and the US-led NATO have already expressed their concern over what they describe as a large Russian military build-up across the Rostov region, which borders Ukraine’s breakaway regions.

Moscow, in response, says it is always mindful of its own security, stressing that Russia does not intend to threaten anyone.

“The Russian army is moving across Russian territory in the directions it considers necessary, the way it considers necessary, to ensure safety and security of our country,” Peskov said Monday.

On Saturday, Peskov also raised the alarm about the resumption of an all-out conflict in Ukraine’s east and expressed Russia’s determination to prevent Kiev from using force to try to retake the separatist-controlled region of Donbas.

Relations between Moscow and Kiev further deteriorated when the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea rejoined Russia following a referendum in 2014. More than 90 percent of the participants in the referendum voted in favor of unification.

Later in 2015, the two sides signed a ceasefire deal in the Belarus capital, Minsk, with French and German support. Nonetheless, both parties have on numerous occasions accused one another of violating the ceasefire.

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