A senior Kremlin official said Thursday that Russia could face circumstances where necessary defend its citizens in eastern Ukraine and that military action may arise, Reuters reported.
Deputy President of the Russian Presidential Administration, Dmitry Kozak, was quoted as saying: “I support the assessment that … the beginning of military action – this would be the beginning of the end of Ukraine. ”
The remarks came on the same day as the Russian president Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of provocative action in the eastern region of the country during a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Putin accused Kyiv of “inciting the situation there.”
Ukraine announced on Saturday that it would hold joint military exercises with NATO troops with more than 1,000 military personnel from five NATO nations. There was no specification for when the exercises were to be held.
The Ukrainian parliament issued a statement last week declaring an “escalation” along the front, citing a “significant increase in shelling and armed provocations by the armed forces of the Russian Federation.”