Russia has warned the U.S. against interfering in the affairs of the former Soviet republic of Ukraine where protesters are now violently clashing with government forces. Reuters noted on Jan. 25 that the U.S. cautioned Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich that the relationship between both nations could suffer if he fails to ease the standoff with protesters. On Saturday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov cautioned the U.S. against meddling in Ukrainian affairs and making inflammatory comments. “I told [U.S. Secretary of State] John Kerry that is very important now not to interfere in the process and to avoid any statements that will only heat up the situation,” Lavrov said in an interview with state television news program Vesti v Subbotu, according to Reuters. “I hoped he heard me,” Lavrov added.
Protests against the Ukrainian government erupted last November after Yanukovich backed away from a free trade deal with the European Union, choosing a closer relationship with Russia instead. What began as a peaceful movement has turned violent. On Jan. 25, The Economist reported that five people have been killed and hundreds injured in the historic violence now plaguing the independent state of Ukraine as a result of the anti-government unrest. According to The Economist, violence has been ignited “by the passage of a series of repressive laws imposing tight controls on the media and criminalizing the protests of the past two months. One law copied almost verbatim a Russian example, including stigmatizing charities and human-rights groups financed from abroad as ‘foreign agents.’” The Jan. 25 report by Reuters mentioned that the Ukrainian president recently offered top government positions to opposition leaders after both sides held fresh negotiation talks on Saturday. Breitbart