The United States is calling on Russia and Ukraine to deescalate a "very dangerous situation" between the two countries, the Reuters news agency reported Thursday.
Tensions flared between the two nations this week after Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) accused Ukraine on Wednesday of preparing "terrorist acts" on the disputed Crimean peninsula.
"We believe that any actions, including rhetoric, including remarks, have the ability to escalate what is already a very tense situation and a very dangerous situation," said U.S. State Department spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau.
An Russian FSB serviceman and a Defense Ministry employee are reported to have died in a clash with Ukrainian forces which resulted in several arrests. Two men, who have been named by the FSB as Evgeny Panov and Andrei Zakhtei, have both reportedly confessed to terrorism charges, the RBC news agency reported.
"Two Russian military men have been killed. Obviously, we won’t leave that unanswered," President Vladimir Putin said during a press conference on Wednesday evening. "I believe it is obvious that the acting Kiev government has chosen terrorism rather than solving issues through talks," he said.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called Russia’s accusations "fantasy" and "just another pretext for the next military threats to Ukraine." He maintained that Russia had been using "terrorist methods" on Ukrainian territory.
Russian media outlets reported on Friday that the two countries could potentially sever their diplomatic ties over the incident. "Moscow is considering this option," one unnamed source said, the Izvestia newspaper reported.