Ukraine FM says chances of war with Russia 'growing'

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya said in an interview broadcast on US television on Sunday that the chances of war between his country and Russia were growing.

"They are growing, I would say. We don't know what Putin has in his mind and what would be his decision," Mr Deshchytsya told ABC's "This Week" political talk show, referring to the Russian president.

"That's why this situation is becoming even more explosive than it used to be a week ago," the Ukrainian foreign minister added.

The remarks were broadcast a day after Russian forces used armored personnel carriers and stun grenades to break into the Belbek airbase near Simferopol, the main city on the Crimean peninsula.

An earlier transcript of Mr Deshchytsya's comments released by ABC reiterated his concerns about the prospect of war.

"The problem is that Russians, and particularly Putin's administration, Putin himself is not talking to the rest of the world, he doesn't want to listen to the world, he doesn't want to respond on the arguments, Ukrainian arguments and arguments to de-escalate the situation and stop invasion."

Mr Deshchytsya's comments also echoed those made on Sunday by Ukraine's National Security and Defence Council chief Andriy Parubiy, who was appointed after leading the recent anti-government protests in Kiev.

"The aim of Putin is not Crimea but all of Ukraine," Mr Parubiy told a mass unity rally in the Ukrainian capital. "His troops massed at the border are ready to attack at any moment," he added.

The military takeover came as the chill in East-West ties grew stiffer with a charge by Germany - a nation whose friendship Mr Putin had nurtured - of a Kremlin attempt to "splinter" Europe along Cold War-era lines.