Russia slams Kerry's 'unacceptable' threats over Ukraine

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia's foreign ministry said on Monday that warnings by United States Secretary of State John Kerry over Russian military intervention in Ukraine were "unacceptable" threats.

"We consider the threats against Russia made in a series of public statements by US Secretary of State John Kerry over the latest events in Ukraine and in Crimea to be unacceptable," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement on its website.

Moscow accused Kerry of relying on "Cold War cliches", saying that he had not bothered to understand the complex processes taking place in Ukrainian society.

Kerry failed to "objectively assess the situation that is continuing to deteriorate after the forcible seizure of power in Kiev by radical extremists," the ministry said.

It accused the United States and its allies of turning a blind eye to the "rampant Russophobia and anti-Semitism" of the opposition protesters who took power in Kiev.

"The West's allies now are outright neo-Nazis who wreck Orthodox churches and synagogues," the ministry said.

Kerry, who is set to visit Kiev on Tuesday to meet the new leadership, bluntly warned Russia on Sunday that it risked exclusion from the Group of Eight nations and faced possible sanctions for sending troops into Ukraine's southern Crimea region.

The other seven members issued a statement on Sunday saying that their participation at a June summit in Sochi was now in doubt, also dealing a blow to Russia's national pride after its hosting of the Winter Olympic games.

A spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry, Alexander Lukashevich, said in a comment on Monday that the decision to suspend Russia's participation in Group of Eight was "unmotivated" and "politically damaging." Washington has condemned Russia's "clear" violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and Kerry said Sunday that the deployment of troops in Ukraine could have a "profound effect" on Russia's ties with the United States.

Russia has stressed to its own citizens that the new authorities in Ukraine are rabid nationalists intent on discriminating against the country's Russian-speakers and that Moscow must intervene in Russian-speaking regions to defend "its own" people.

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