(Adds quotes, details, context)
By Steve Gutterman
MOSCOW May 28 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov on Wednesday accused the West of pushing Ukraine into a
"fratricidal war" and repeated Moscow's calls for an end to the
interim Ukrainian government's military action against
Lavrov's remarks were in line with frequent Russian
statements placing blame on the United States and EU for the
turmoil in Ukraine, where government forces killed dozens of
rebels in the eastern Donetsk province on Monday and Tuesday.
"The people (of Ukraine) are in essence being pushed into a
the abyss of fratricidal war," Russian news agencies quoted
Lavrov as saying at a ministry reception attended by the head of
the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill.
He did not name any nation but made clear he was blaming the
West, saying Ukraine's crisis was caused by "efforts to use the
country not as a unifying link between different parts of the
Eurasian space, which is its absolutely natural role, but as a
watershed between the west and east of the European continent".
Former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich's abrupt
decision to shun a proffered free trade and economic support
package from the European Union in November sparked protests
that led to his ouster in February.
Russia then annexed the Crimea region and pro-Russian
separatists seized buildings in several eastern cities, leading
to a confrontation with the interim government and aggravating
the worst rift between Moscow and the West since the Cold War.
Interfax quoted Lavrov as saying Sunday's presidential
election, won by confectionery magnate Petro Poroshenko, "should
help foster an end to the punitive operation" - Russia's term
for the government operation in eastern Ukraine.
Lavrov said anyone who accuses Russia of imperialism - after
it annexed Crimea, where ethnic Russians are in the majority -
"The concept of a Russian world that is advanced by the
Russian state and the Russian Orthodox Church has nothing to do
with imperial schemes. It is about preserving spiritual and
cultural ties between people," Interfax quoted him as saying.
(editing by Elizabeth Piper)