Poroshenko sees increased risk of open war with Russia
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[February 03, 2016]
BERLIN (Reuters) - The risk of open
war between Russia and Ukraine is greater than it was a year ago and
Russian President Vladimir Putin has begun an "information war" against
Germany, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told the German newspaper
Poroshenko, who met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on
Monday, said Russia had implemented "not one single point" of the
Minsk accord, which includes a ceasefire between Ukrainian troops
and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.
Russia was building up its military presence on the border with
Ukraine, he said.
"The danger of an open war is greater than last year," Poroshenko
told Bild, in an interview published in its Wednesday edition.
"Russia is investing a great deal in war preparations."
Merkel pressed Putin by phone on Tuesday to use his influence to
ensure that a ceasefire is upheld in Ukraine and that monitors from
the OSCE European security organization are granted free access to
conflict areas, her spokesman said.
Berlin is growing increasingly suspicious that Russia is trying to
stir up trouble in Germany to try to weaken Merkel, who has taken a
tough line on a crisis that was triggered when Russia annexed Crimea
in March 2014.
German officials say Moscow hopes to destabilize Europe and create a
vacuum into which it can project its own power.
"Now Putin has opened an information war against Germany as well,"
German concerns about Moscow grew last month after Russian Foreign
Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the German authorities of "sweeping
problems under the rug" over an alleged rape case involving a
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The case of the 13-year-old, named only as Lisa F., caused
controversy after she told police that she had been kidnapped in
east Berlin last month by migrants who raped her while she was held
for 30 hours.
The Berlin public prosecutor's office has since said a medical
examination found she was not raped.
When asked if Russia had used the case to try to stir up tensions
around immigration, Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, told
reporters on Wednesday: "We cannot agree with such accusations."
"On the contrary, we were keen that our position be understood, we
were talking about a citizen of the Russian Federation," he added.
"Any country expresses its concerns (in such cases). It would be
wrong to look for any hidden agenda."
(Additional reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin in Moscow; Writing by
Paul Carrel; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)
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