Russia slams U.S. decision to sell arms to Ukraine

MOSCOW, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) — Reacting to the U.S. decision to sell lethal weapons to Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Saturday that it will lead to “new bloodshed.”

“The U.S. weapons can lead to new victims in our neighboring country (Ukraine), to which we cannot remain indifferent,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in the statement.

“Washington is trying to present itself as an intermediary. But it is an accomplice in fomenting a war,” Ryabkov said, adding that there is overwhelming “Russophobia” among many U.S. politicians.

The response came after the U.S. State Department said Friday that Washington will sell advanced weapons to Ukraine to help update its defense capabilities. The arsenal will include Javelin anti-tank missiles, which Kiev has long desired.

Ukraine launched a military operation in its southeast Donbas region in April 2014, after the pro-Russia local residents refused to recognize the new pro-West Ukrainian authorities and sought independence.

Armed conflicts have been plaguing Donbas since then and have claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people.

Kiev and the insurgents reached a peace agreement brokered by Russia, France and Germany in Minsk in September 2014. A more detailed renewal of the agreement was signed in February 2015.

The pact spells out a cease-fire, a withdrawal of heavy weaponry from the line of separation between the two warring sides, exchange of prisoners, and holding local elections in Donbas.

But the agreement has been breached from time to time, with both parties accusing the other of violations.

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