Russia accuses West of planning Ukraine 'provocations'

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Russia accused the West of staging "provocations" in Ukraine amid new alarms over the impending threat of a Russian attack.

Maria Zakharova, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said that the recent fears expressed by officials from the West that Russia could be preparing an invasion of Ukraine were a "cover for staging large-scale provocations of their own, including those of military character," according to The Associated Press.

"They may have extremely tragic consequences for the regional and global security," she added.

Zakharova also noted the recent weapon deliveries to Ukraine by the United Kingdom, saying that Ukraine sees Western military assistance as a "carte blanche for a military operation in Donbas," according to the news outlet.

Donbas is located in eastern Ukraine and is currently controlled by Russia-backed separatists who initiated an insurgency that killed over 14,000 people over eight years of conflict.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the U.S. threat of a possible cutoff from global banking systems in Russia could allow Ukraine forces to reclaim control of the area.

"It may implant false hopes in the hotheads of some representatives of the Ukrainian leadership who may decide to quietly restart a civil war in their country," Peskov said in a call with reporters, according to the AP.

Lawmakers have pressed the Biden administration to send more military aid to Ukraine. While the nation received an additional $200 million in defensive security assistance, some lawmakers continue to push for extra help.

Global concerns for Ukraine and Russia arose after Russia amassed about 100,000 troops near the border of Ukraine. Next month, the Kremlin is also sending an unspecified number of troops to Belarus for war games.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday visited Ukraine and reassured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that more military aid is "scheduled in the coming weeks."

Blinken is set to deliver a speech on the crisis on Thursday in Berlin.

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