Ukraine's foreign minister says Moscow's actions and statements are aimed at escalating military tensions and undermining diplomatic efforts to resolve the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

A Ukrainian serviceman walks along a trench at a position on the frontline with Russia-backed separatists near Gorlivka, Donetsk region, on April 14, 2021.
A Ukrainian serviceman walks along a trench at a position on the frontline with Russia-backed separatists near Gorlivka, Donetsk region, on April 14, 2021. (AFP)

Ukraine's foreign minister has said that Russia was flagrantly threatening Ukraine with destruction, as Western countries raise the alarm over an escalation of the separatist conflict.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said during a press conference with his Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian counterparts that Russian pundits and officials are "openly threatening Ukraine with war and the destruction of Ukrainian statehood."

"We condemn Russia's aggravation of the security situation, Moscow's actions and statements aimed at escalating military tensions and undermining diplomatic efforts to resolve the Russian-Ukrainian conflict," Kuleba said on Thursday.

"The red line of Ukraine is the state border. If Russia crosses the red line, then it will have to suffer," he added.

"Today, the four of us can firmly declare that we condemn the exacerbation of the situation by Russia, the actions and statements of Moscow aimed at escalating tensions," Kuleba said at a joint news conference with the Baltics ministers in Kiev.

"The world is on the side of Ukraine and international law, and this is one of the elements of restraining Russia from reckless actions," he added.

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Simmering conflict

Kiev has been fighting pro-Russian separatists in two breakaway regions in the east of the country since 2014 when Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine.

Ukraine this week accused Russia of massing thousands of military personnel on its northern and eastern borders and a recent increase in fighting has upended a ceasefire agreement last year that had brought relative calm to the conflict.

Ukraine and its Western allies accuse Russia of sending troops and arms to prop up the separatists – claims that Moscow denies.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies