- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 23, 2014

Ukraine’s acting foreign minister said Sunday that the country is prepared to respond to the increased presence of Russian troops on Ukraine’s eastern border.

“We are very much concerned about this development, the deployment of Russian troops on our eastern borders,” Ukraine’s Andrii Deshchytsia said on ABC News’ “This Week.” “We are ready to respond and, as you know, the Ukraine government is trying to use all the peaceful diplomatic means and diplomatic means to stop Russians but the people are also ready to defend their homeland.”

Mr. Deshchytsia emphasized that Ukrainians living in the eastern region of the country would most likely respond militarily if Russians invade.

“We are trying to use all the diplomatic measures and all the economic, financial and other sanctions, visa sanctions, to stop Russians not to do this, but it’s very difficult to keep people restrained and they are patriots of their homeland and [it] would be difficult for them just simply sit or stay and look at Russia invading their country,” he said.

The acting foreign minister said the chances of war are “becoming higher.”

“Putin himself is not talking to the rest of the world, he doesn’t want to listen to the world, he doesn’t want to respond on the arguments … to deescalate [the] situation and stop invasion. We don’t know what Putin has in his mind and what will be his decision,” he said.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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