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Putin accuses Kiev of serving NATO interests

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday accused the Ukrainian government forces of effectively implementing NATO's geopolitical objectives.

The Ukrainian army is in effect a NATO legion, which "does not pursue Ukrainian national interests," Putin told a meeting with local students.

"It has quite different geopolitical goals, namely to contain Russia, which is absolutely inconsistent with the national interests of the Ukrainian people," Putin was quoted by Tass news agency as saying.

He accused Ukrainian authorities of giving up peaceful and political ways to settle the crisis and of taking advantage of the ceasefire to regroup the government troops.

"Regrettably, officials in Kiev are refusing to follow the path of peaceful resolution, they do not want to find a political solution. They misused the truce only for regrouping and resumed fighting again." Putin said.

"Thousands of people have already died. This is a tragedy, a civil war in effect," he added.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier that the conflict in Ukraine might be solved peacefully only if Kiev shows political will for that.

Peskov reiterated that Russia would not change its position over situation in Ukraine under economic pressure and threats, noting that any threats of further sanctions are "absolutely destructive, unjustified and ultimately short-sighted."

Marked by Saturday's shelling in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, which claimed at least 30 lives, situation in Ukraine worsened amid a new wave of escalation.

On Sunday, Moscow accused Kiev of failing to withdraw heavy weapons from the contracted line in accordance with Minsk deal reached last September as well as with the latest agreement made at the Normandy format dialogue by foreign ministers of Germany, Russia, France and Ukraine.

[Source: Xinhua, St. Petersburg, 26Jan15]

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