Russia Accuses US of 'Puppeteering' in Ukrainian Crisis

Russia has accused the United States of 'puppeteering' in Ukraine as violence erupted at Independence Square on Tuesday, leaving at least eighteen, including seven police, dead.

The Russian Foreign Ministry's Aleksandr Lukashevich made the accusation in response to a statement by the US State Department regarding the escalating violence, adding that the US desires to bring Ukraine under a "Western vector of development."

The statement from the US called for an end to the current violence and the formation of a working government.

According to RT.com, Russia is blaming the violence on "the permissiveness policy exercised by those western politicians and European structures" which in their view encourage the protestors, not on the crack-down against opposition by pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Russian diplomats again called upon the Ukrainian opposition to abandon threats and ultimatums and start a meaningful dialogue with the authorities in order to take the country out of the deep crisis.

Tuesday's violence began when police sought to drive protestors from Independence Square in Kiev where they have been encamped in protest since the crisis began in November. According to the BBC,

Security forces had given protesters a deadline of 18:00 local time (16:00 GMT) to leave Independence Square, the scene of a mostly peaceful protest camp since November.

When the pro-Western protestors refused to leave, police opened fire with stun grenades. Protestors responded with fireworks and Molotov cocktails.

The crisis began in November when Yanukovych canceled a developing trade deal with the European Union in favor of strengthening ties with Russia. President Putin of Russia has since agreed to purchase Ukrainian debt and relieve natural gas costs in exchange for the greater ties with its former Cold War proxy.

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