Russia says Kiev's belligerence forced its observers to quit east Ukraine

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian military observers had to pull out of a joint ceasefire control group due to Kiev’s determination to solve the crisis in the rebel-held eastern regions of the country by force, a spokesman for Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

Earlier this week, the ministry said it was recalling officers serving at the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination in Ukraine, accusing the Ukrainian side of obstructing their work and limiting access to the front line.

Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also said on Thursday that the United States encouraged the resumption of large-scale bloodshed in eastern Ukraine by Washington’s approval of lethal arms sales to Ukrainian army.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Alison Williams