GENEVA (Reuters) - Unrest in eastern Ukraine is a "concocted pretext" engineered by Russia to disrupt four-way talks on Ukraine due to take place on Thursday, Kiev's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva said on Tuesday.
Yurii Klymenko said Ukraine wanted to use the talks, which will bring together top U.S., European Union, Russian and Ukrainian diplomats, to reduce tensions on its borders with Russia and to help revive trade with its neighbour. But Ukraine would not discuss its internal affairs, he said.
"We are not going to discuss federalisation of Ukraine. This issue is not on the agenda," Klymenko told a news conference.
He said Kiev was committed to decentralising to grant more powers to its regions but federalisation was not on the table.
"Any talks are better than military conflict. We want to have results-oriented talks. Now I understand there is some intention to disrupt the talks," he said, and Ukraine would oppose attempts to do so on any "concocted pretext".
"We already had this concocted pretext: these events which take place this weekend. This (pro-Russian) unrest was provoked by Russia. It's very remarkable that this unrest, these separatist actions, are taking place just before the talks. There is some linkage without any doubt."
Russia declared Ukraine on the brink of civil war on Tuesday and Kiev said an "anti-terrorist operation" against pro-Moscow separatists was under way, though the crackdown got off to a slow start.
Asked by Reuters if Ukraine could make a formal approach to Russia's government to help deal with the "terrorists", Klymenko said it would be up to the police or security officials to decide but he was open to the idea.
"This initiative, it could work. So maybe why not discuss it and put it on the table?"
(Editing by Louise Ireland)