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U.S. is the primary source of conflict, Putin’s spokesman says after crimes against humanity accusation

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday that the United States was being held up as a “primary source” of international tension for supporting Ukrainian attacks on Crimea, hours after Vice President Kamala Harris accused Russia of crimes against humanity. a day after

“There is no readiness or openness to a peaceful initiative on the part of the collective West,” Peskov was quoted as saying by state news agency Tass. Kremlin. Putin” TV program on the Rossiya 1 TV channel.

Peskov was also asked about comments by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, who said Thursday that the United States believes Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, is , should be “at least” demonetised.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov in Moscow
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov in Moscow in 2021.Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP File

Calling them “legitimate targets”, in an interview with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Nuland said that Washington supported Ukrainian attacks on military installations on the peninsula.

Peskov said his comments emphasized “the depth of our differences” and “perhaps even the role of the United States as the primary source of current international conflicts.”

Peskov’s response comes a day after Vice President Kamala Harris said the US had determined Russia committed a crime against humanity in its war against Ukraine.

“Russian forces have carried out widespread and systematic attacks against a civilian population – gruesome acts of murder, torture, rape and deportation,” Harris told the Munich Security Conference in Germany.

Russia, which has said it is waging a “special military operation” in Ukraine to eliminate threats to its security, has denied deliberately targeting civilians.

Harris’s remarks came as senior world leaders met in Munich for a conference focused on international security. Russian officials, who are usually invited, were left off the guest list this year.

Harris also said that Washington was “troubled that Beijing had deepened its ties with Moscow” since the invasion.

Four US officials familiar with the matter later told NBC News that China could provide non-lethal military aid to Russia for use in Ukraine. The Biden administration said it is concerned that China is considering sending additional lethal aid.

Officials declined to give details about the non-lethal military aid, but said it could include gear for the spring offensive, such as uniforms or even body armor.

Foreign Minister Antony Blinken and China’s top diplomat Wang Yi met on Saturday after a Munich security conference, and a source familiar with the talks said Chinese aid was “an essential topic of conversation”. Blinken and other US officials have been sharing information about Chinese aid to Russia with allies and partners at the conference.

China has refrained from condemning the Russian invasion, taking care to avoid violating international sanctions. It did not comment on the US officials’ allegations.

Putin, whose dependence on China has deepened amid international isolation over his war, acknowledged last year that Beijing had “questions and concerns” about the conflict.

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