Russia warned the United States on Saturday that any armed action by Ukrainian authorities in the east of Ukraine would undermine efforts at a diplomatic solution to the conflict and put planned peace talks at risk.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made the warning during a call from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who expressed concern about Russia's role in "inciting" trouble in eastern Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Separatists have seized state premises in eastern Ukrainian towns in recent days.
Lavrov said Ukraine was "demonstrating its inability to take responsibility for the fate of the country".
He said that any use of force against Russian speakers in the east of Ukraine "would undermine the potential for cooperation ... including the holding of planned four-party talks in Geneva" on April 17 between Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union.
(Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Kevin Liffey)