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No facts to substantiate accusations against Russia: Lavrov

Posted on Aug 29 2014 | IANS

Moscow, Aug 29 (IANS/ITAR -TASS) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Friday said accusations against Russia of invading Ukraine have been voiced repeatedly but the US and European countries have failed to substantiate such accusations with facts.

"It is not the first time when accusations addressed to us are heard. Since the beginning of the crisis, we have been accused, that we are to blame for everything... No facts have been presented to us either about invasion or other issues," Lavrov said after a bilateral meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif here.

"It seems to me that concealing of facts is characteristic of the United States and some European countries over what is happening in Ukraine" he added.

There is not even one fact to confirm all the statements, the Russian minister said, adding that on every occasion the Russian side asked American and Western European colleagues to substantiate such accusations.

NATO Friday accused Russia of direct involvement in the Ukraine crisis, saying Russian military was supporting rebels in east Ukraine in a "blatant violation" of that country's sovereignty.

The 28-member military alliance had earlier this week released satellite images that showed Russian forces inside Ukraine.

Meanwhile, heavy fighting was continuing Friday near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea.

Rebel forces were trying to capture the city but were failing due to the unrelenting defence put up by the Ukrainian government troops.

The advance has raised fears that the Kremlin might seek to create a humanitarian corridor between Russia and Crimea -- a territory annexed by Russia from Ukraine in March.

Rebels were also reported to have surrounded government soldiers in several places near the city of Donetsk.

Ukrainian forces near the town of Ilovaysk said they were cut off and have been urgently asking for supplies and reinforcements.

However, following an intervention by Moscow, rebels have agreed to give a "humanitarian corridor" to the government troops, Al Jazeera said.

According to a UN report, at least 2,593 people have been killed and 5,043 injured in the Ukraine conflict between April and August.

The report said that 155,800 people have fled elsewhere in Ukraine while at least 188,000 have gone to Russia.

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