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Published: Thursday May 1, 2014 MYT 3:35:02 AM
Updated: Thursday May 1, 2014 MYT 3:36:09 AM

Russia voices concern over 'militaristic statements' from Kiev

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed concern on Wednesday about "militaristic statements" from Kiev after acting President Oleksander Turchinov said Ukraine's armed forces were on full military alert in case of a Russian invasion.

"We insist that Kiev immediately ceases the bellicose rhetoric, which is aimed at intimidating its own population," the Foreign Ministry said after Turchinov's comments on Wednesday, and called on Ukraine authorities to refrain from the use of force.

The West, which believes Moscow is involved in Ukraine's east where separatists have seized more public buildings in wrestling control away from Kiev, this week introduced fresh sanctions on Russia over Ukraine.

Russia denies Western allegations of fomenting separatist unrest in eastern Ukraine.

President Vladimir Putin held phone conversations with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Italy's Matteo Renzi on Wednesday, with short Kremlin statements afterwards highlighting consensus between the leaders.

Speaking during a trip to Chile, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also said Moscow would not retaliate immediately against the Western sanctions but would review that stance if measures targeting its economy were introduced.

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska)

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