By Rebecca Shabad - 04/23/14 02:08 PM EDT
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday accused the United States of "running the show” in Ukraine's efforts to dissolve pro-Russian separatist groups.
Ukraine resumed its “counter-terrorist” operation to root out the separatists on Tuesday after two bodies were found near Slovyansk, an Eastern Ukrainian city the rebels occupy. One of the dead was a local politician.
Lavrov told the Kremlin-funded broadcast network Russia Today that he finds it peculiar the operation was revived after Vice President Biden’s visit to Kiev.
“It’s quite telling,” he said.
“So I don’t have any reason not to believe that the Americans are running the show," Lavrov said.
Biden returned to Washington on Tuesday night after a two-day trip to Ukraine.
Lavrov’s comments come a day after Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to him by phone, urging Russia “to tone down escalatory rhetoric.”
Kerry called for Russian separatists who are occupying buildings to disarm and stand down in exchange for amnesty, which was part of a diplomatic framework deal reached by the U.S., Russia, Ukraine and the European Union last week.
The State Department said Monday photographic evidence exists that shows Russians have been stationed in Ukraine, but undercover.
On Tuesday, the Pentagon announced it’s sending 600 additional troops to the Baltic states in Eastern Europe for military exercises.