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After Shoigu’s statements on Ukraine, US urges Russia to stop ‘inflammatory rhetoric’

WASHINGTON, December 22. /TASS/. Following Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu’s remarks about the situation in eastern Ukraine, US Department of State Spokesperson Ned Price called upon Russia to stop ‘inflammatory rhetoric.’

“Contrary to statements from the Russian Defense Minister, Russia and its proxies are responsible for escalating tensions, not Ukraine or the United States,” he said in a Twitter post. “We call on Russia to stop using false, inflammatory rhetoric and take meaningful steps to de-escalate tensions to provide a positive atmosphere for discussions.”

The spokesperson did not specify what statements he was referring to.

Russian Defense Minister Army General Sergey Shoigu said at the ministry’s enlarged board meeting on Tuesday that more than 120 mercenaries from private US military companies were detected in the towns of Avdeevka and Priazovskoye in the Kiev-controlled areas of the Donetsk Region. They are setting up firing points, plotting military operations and training radical armed groups. According to Shoigu, canisters with unknown chemical substances were delivered to the town of Avdeyevka and the village of Krasny Liman.

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby was quoted as saying by Politico that “those statements by Minister Shoigu are completely false.”

Additional measures to control the ceasefire along the contact line in Donbass have been in force since July 27, 2020. However, the situation in Donbass has been escalating since late February 2021, with shootouts reported from the contact line quite frequently and casualties reported on both sides, including among civilians. The situation further escalated after October 13, when Ukrainian security service captured an officer of the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) mission to the Joint Control and Coordination Center. DPR and LPR accuse Kiev of deliberately provoking escalation of the conflict.

There has been a flurry of statements in the West and Kiev lately that Russia could invade Ukraine. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said they were unsubstantiated escalation and that Russia doesn’t threaten anyone. At the same time, he didn’t rule out provocations to corroborate these Western statements and warned that the use of force to resolve the crisis in southeastern Ukraine will have serious consequences.

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