Ukraine: Russian consulate in Lviv hit by molotov cocktail | Ukraine

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday that a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the country’s consulate in the Ukrainian city of Lviv and that it officially protested the attack, which it described as an act of terrorism. .

The ministry summoned a Ukrainian official and demanded an apology from his country’s authorities.

Ukrainian police in Lviv said they had opened an investigation into the incident, which they described as hooliganism.

The incident comes as tensions soar over an accumulation of Russian troops near the border with Ukraine that has fueled fears of an invasion.

The Kremlin also said on Friday that it expected the United States to respond to its demand for security guarantees that prevent NATO expansion in Ukraine next month.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday urged the West to respond to the demand immediately, accusing the United States and its allies of maintaining a military presence “on our doorstep.”

Moscow submitted draft security documents last week demanding that NATO refuse membership of Ukraine and other countries of the former Soviet Union and cancel alliance military deployments in central Europe and eastern.

“To discuss de-escalation, we expect our opponents in Washington to provide specific responses to our proposals in January,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a conference call with reporters on Friday. .

US President Joe Biden told Putin during a video call earlier this month that Russia would face serious consequences if it attacked Ukraine.

Moscow denied its intention to launch an attack, but described NATO’s expansion and the deployment of weapons in Ukraine as a red line.

Speaking at an annual marathon press conference Thursday, Putin said the US-Russian talks due to start in Geneva next month were a positive move, but that Moscow expected them to produce quick results.

The United States and its allies, however, have said they will not give Russia the kind of guarantee on Ukraine Putin wants. One of NATO’s key principles is that membership is open to any eligible country. US officials hold talks with European allies ahead of the Geneva talks.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Friday that his country should participate in all NATO security talks with Russia.

“Euro-Atlantic security is at stake in Ukraine, therefore Ukraine should participate in security consultations on the issue,” he tweeted. “We support the idea that the US, EU, NATO talk to Russia as long as the main topic is the end of the international armed conflict, Russia’s war against Ukraine.”

Peskov dismissed Western concerns about the build-up of Russian troops. He said the country had the right to deploy its army wherever it deemed necessary in its territory, and presented the recent movements as a defensive response to provocations from the west.

“Whatever Russia does with its troops, it does on its own territory and we cannot allow anyone to challenge this sovereign right,” he said. “Russia is taking certain measures to move and redeploy its armed forces on its territory due to the hostile movements of our adversaries in NATO, the United States and certain European countries which have carried out unambiguous maneuvers near our borders,” carried out reconnaissance flights and deployed warships.

“This gives rise to our deep concern and obliges us to take certain measures to ensure our safety. “

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and supported a separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine. More than 14,000 people were killed in the fighting, which also devastated Donbass, the industrial heart of Ukraine.

Putin said earlier this week that Russia would have to take “adequate military-technical measures” if the West continues on its “aggressive” course.

On Friday, he hailed another successful test of a new hypersonic weapon. A salvo of Zircon cruise missiles had been fired “without fail”, he said. “This is a big event for the country and a major step in strengthening Russia’s security and improving its defense capability.”

Friday’s launch was the latest in a series of tests for Zircon, which Putin says is capable of flying at nine times the speed of sound for a distance of over 1,000 kilometers (600 miles). The missile is expected to enter service with the Russian Navy next year and arm its cruisers, frigates and submarines.

Putin expressed concern last month that NATO could use Ukrainian territory to deploy missiles capable of reaching Moscow in just five minutes and said the Zircon would give Russia a comparable capability.

“It would also only take five minutes to reach those issuing orders,” he said.

Christi C. Elwood