By Mick Krever, CNN
On a day when at least 40 people were killed in eastern Ukraine, a Russian and Ukrainian official traded accusations in separate interviews with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
“What we keep asking and demanding from Russia: ‘Stop feeding terrorism and separatism in Ukraine,’” Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.N. Yuriy Sergeyev told Amanpour.
Those separatists, Russian Senator Andrey Klimov also told Amanpour, “are not under Moscow’s control.”
“They are not members of my army or our special forces but they are citizens of that country,” he said. “The problem is not in Moscow. The problem is inside [the] Ukrainian state and their society.”
A battle between pro-Russia separatists and government forces at Donetsk airport in eastern Ukraine has claimed 40 lives, authorities said Tuesday, in the deadliest outbreak of violence yet in the flashpoint city.
An additional 31 people have been injured, including four civilians, according to the website of the Donetsk mayor, Alexander Lukyanchenko. Two of the fatalities are civilians.
The violence comes just two days after Petro Poroshenko claimed victory in presidential elections. Whether he can unite an incredibly fractious country remains an open question.
“We need reconciliation, we need peace, we need stability,” Ambassador Sergeyev said.
Klimov, who is deputy chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the upper house of Russia’s parliament, said that there are legitimate grievances within Ukraine that the government in Kiev needs to address.
Some, he said, want more independence within Ukraine, some want their own independent state, and some want to outright join Russia.
“But this is their idea; it’s not our one. We never told them to split [the] country. Never.”
“We don’t trust the words; we trust the deeds,” Ambassador Sergeyev said. “Still we have the huge amount of the military forces on our borders, despite the promises of President Putin. Still we have the provocations on our borders. That’s why we are awaiting deeds.”