Russia 'doesn't want war' with Ukraine: Senior diplomat

A military personnel member, believed to be a Russian serviceman, stands guard on a military vehicle outside the territory of a Ukrainian military unit in the village of Perevalnoye outside Simferopol on Mar 3, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A military personnel member, believed to be a Russian serviceman, stands guard on a military vehicle outside the territory of a Ukrainian military unit in the village of Perevalnoye outside Simferopol on Mar 3, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia does not want war with Ukraine and parliament's approval for military intervention is aimed above all at showing the seriousness of the Kremlin's intentions, a senior Russian diplomat has said.

President Vladimir Putin on Saturday won approval from Russia's upper house for the sending of Russian troops to Ukraine, amid the standoff in Crimea following the ousting of president Viktor Yanukovych.

"Russia does not want war with Ukraine," Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said on the late night chat show on state television "Sunday Evening with Vladimir Solovyov".

"I am convinced that no one in Russia wants war with Ukraine," he added.

"We are against using such terminology to discuss our relations with Ukraine which is so close to us."

"We think that this decision will sober up many people and show the seriousness of the intentions of the Russian Federation."

Mr Karasin slammed Western states who have threatened to throw Russia out of the Group of Eight (G8) nations grouping over its move and told them to show more understanding.

"We will support all forces who are in favour of strengthening our bilateral relations, all the more so since stability in Europe depends on these relations."

"This should be understood by the Western politicians who are now using foul language against us."

Ms Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of the Federation Council Russian upper house of parliament that gave Putin approval for military action, also rejected the idea of war.

"Vladimir - never pronounce that word," she told host Vladimir Solovyov on the same programme after he asked her point blank if there would be war between Russia and Ukraine.

"It is absolutely unacceptable.

"There will never be war between us. We are brotherly nations, we are the Slavic world," added Ms Matviyenko, who is in theory Russia's number three official after the president and the prime minister.

"I think the hot heads in Kiev in the end should cool down and should understand that with their actions they are provoking separatist actions in eastern regions of Ukraine and Crimea," she added.

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