By Rebecca Shabad - 05/02/14 02:57 PM EDT
Secretary of State John Kerry rejected Russia’s claim on Friday that the United States was involved in a Kiev-launched crackdown on separatists in an eastern Ukrainian city.
The Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement is an “outrageous fiction,” Kerry tweeted.
The Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement earlier in the day accusing the U.S. of assisting Kiev’s crackdown on pro-Russian separatists in Slovyansk.
“English-speaking foreigners” were among the attackers seen in the city, the statement said.
“It is well known that the so-called private military organizations do not work abroad without the approval of the U.S. State Department,” it continued, according to a translation.
The foreign ministry also went on to accuse both the U.S. and the European Union of supporting “coup organizers in Kiev in their line on the violent suppression of protests” and blocking the road to a peaceful resolution in the crisis.
Russia strongly demands that the West “abandon destructive policies toward Ukraine,” it said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently accused the U.S. of “running the show” in Ukraine, which the State Department dismissed at the time as “ludicrous.”
Lavrov found it suspicious that Kiev’s “anti-terrorist” operations were launched and relaunched after Vice President Biden and CIA Director John Brennan each visited the country.
Ukraine reported many militants were killed or wounded in Slovyansk during Kiev’s first major offensive against the separatists on Friday, The Associated Press reported. Pro-Russian insurgents also shot down two Ukrainian helicopters.