BRUSSELS, August 28 (RIA Novosti) – Thursday’s claims of a Russian military invasion of Ukraine were sparked by Kiev’s attempts to justify its military setbacks in the east and downplay the results of recent talks in Minsk, Russia’s EU envoy said.
“I think that this is related to the launch of the Minsk process, which, I believe, someone did not like. Indeed, there was no breakthrough at the summit, but the fact that it took place is important enough. Regardless of the current situation in Ukraine, the first contact between the Customs Union and the European Union is of great significance,” Vladimir Chizhov, the Russian envoy, said.
“Probably, someone in Kiev and in other places, not necessarily in Europe, did not like this,” the envoy said, describing the allegations as “yet another deliberate information campaign that is not supported by evidence.”
Chizhov said the allegations intensified ahead of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s meeting with EU leaders, scheduled to take place in Brussels on Saturday.
“I think that it is related mostly not to the forthcoming summit, but to the failure of the so-called antiterrorist operation,” the envoy added.
Earlier on Thursday, President Poroshenko canceled his trip to Turkey in light of Russian troops allegedly crossing into Ukraine to support independence supporters in the east of the country.
Leonid Slutsky, the head of the State Duma Committee for CIS Affairs, called Kiev’s claims groundless and said they are a publicity stunt that is unlikely to surprise anyone in the international community. Andrei Krelin, Russia’s envoy to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), dismissed the allegations as untruthful.
On August 26, multilateral talks took place in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, attended by the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and European Union officials. The talks touched on several acute problems, including the crisis in eastern Ukraine, gas issues and the Russian food import ban. Russia, Belarus and EU representatives claim the Minsk talks were a step in the right direction.