Ukraine is on the brink of a civil war that has been inflamed by the West, a top Russian MP who oversees foreign affairs says.
Alexei Pushkov, the head of the lower house's foreign affairs committee, on Tuesday condemned the deadly violence that has erupted in Kiev - at least seven people have been killed - as an attempt to "seize power through chaos and lawlessness" in comments to the Interfax news agency.
"I consider that a significant amount of responsibility for this falls on the West and Western politicians, who are constantly putting pressure on the Ukrainian authorities," Pushkov said.
He said Western powers had prevented the authorities from cracking down on "these ultra-radical organisations that are now shooting at police and special forces and are leading the situation to civil war".
"Talking about the need to protect the democratic will of the Ukrainian people and the campaign of pressure on the Ukrainian authorities could well lead to a civil war starting there," he added.
"In fact, it is already present, in embryonic form."
The Russian foreign ministry earlier on Tuesday blamed the policies of Western countries for the clashes.
"What is happening is a direct consequence of the policy of connivance among those Western politicians and European agencies that have been shutting their eyes to the aggressive actions of Ukraine's radical forces," the ministry said in a statement.