Russia warned Kiev it would face justice for a "bloody crime" in eastern Ukraine, where Ukrainian forces killed up to five pro-Russian rebels a day earlier, while Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Russia was looking to start another World War.
"They (Kiev) are waging a war on their own people. This is a bloody crime, and those who pushed the army to do that will pay, I am sure, and will face justice," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday at a meeting of diplomats.
Lavrov said Moscow was committed to implementing an agreement struck in Geneva on Apr. 17 between Ukraine, Russia, the U.S. and the EU to ease tensions in Ukraine and disarm illegal groups but accused Washington of distorting it with "one-sided demands".
Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Russia wanted to start World War Three by occupying Ukraine "militarily and politically" and creating a conflict that would spread to the rest of Europe.
His interior minister, Arsen Avakov, said the operation against rebels in the east was continuing and Ukraine had the resources to operate around the clock, dismissing talk that its forces were stretched or that the government had called a pause after closing in on the rebel city of Slovyansk.
He insisted every care was being taken to avoid non-combatant casualties, after Moscow warned it may act if Kiev used the army against civilians.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier meanwhile suggested that the U.S., the EU and Russia should make a joint high-level trip to hotspots in Ukraine with local officials to signal political backing for the Geneva agreement, under which they all committed to seeking to disarm illegal groups, including rebels occupying about a dozen public buildings in the largely Russian-speaking east.