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MOSCOW, Sept 4 Moscow accused Washington on
Thursday of backing what it called the "party of war" in Kiev
and said it was counting on a response from the leadership in
Ukraine and rebels in its east to a Kremlin ceasefire plan.
"The surge in anti-Russian rhetoric that we have seen
exactly when there is a very active effort to seek a political
solution shows that the party of war in Kiev has active external
support, in this case from the United States," Russian Foreign
Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference after talks with
his Kyrgyz counterpart.
In contrast, he said, Russia was "doing and will do"
everything in its power to secure peace in eastern Ukraine.
Lavrov was referring to U.S. President Barack Obama's
remarks about NATO keeping the door open for new members.
The West has imposed sanctions on Moscow for its actions in
Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels rose up in two provinces after
Moscow annexed the Crimea peninsula in March.
President Vladimir Putin presented a peace plan earlier this
week, outlining seven steps that included a prisoner exchange
and the creation of a humanitarian corridor for refugees and aid
Lavrov said Moscow was keen to learn what Kiev and the
rebels thought about the plan at talks due on Friday in the
Belarussian capital Minsk, but made clear that a ceasefire in
Ukraine should be the primary goal at this point.
"We would like to hear the reaction to this proposal from
the two opposing parties, Kiev and the southeast of Ukraine," he
said. "We will be ready to hear additional proposals too in
order to agree a common position."
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk has criticised
Putin's plan, saying his real intention was "to destroy Ukraine
and restore the Soviet Union".
The European Union is considering new sanctions this week
which could tighten financial restrictions on Russian companies.
Russia has responded to sanctions by banning imports of some
(Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk and Alissa de Carbonnel, editing
by Elizabeth Piper)