|Russia demands US explanation on report CIA chief visited Kiev
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday urged Washington to explain Russian media reports that CIA director John Brennan visited the Ukrainian capital.
Lavrov also accused the West of "off the scale'' hypocrisy over the crisis in Ukraine, where protests in the southeast led to fresh violence at the weekend, AFP reports.
"We can remember when violence on Maidan (Independence Square in Kiev) that ended with dozens and dozens of deaths was called democracy, while peaceful protests that are ongoing now in southeastern Ukraine are called terrorism,'' he said.
"The hypocrisy is off the scale.''
The West has accused Moscow of fomenting unrest in Ukraine's Russian-speaking regions by providing logistical support to separatists and sending representatives of its special services there.
Lavrov, however, denied that members of Russia's FSB security service or the GRU military intelligence service were operating in Ukraine's east.
"We are not meddling in Ukraine's domestic affairs. This contradicts our interests,'' he told reporters.
As tensions rose ahead of four-way talks on the Ukraine crisis on Thursday, Lavrov said Russia "would like to understand the meaning of reports about an urgent visit of CIA director Mr Brennan to Kiev''.
"So far we have not been given any explanations that would be reasonable,'' he told reporters in Moscow.
The Interfax news agency, citing a source in Ukraine's parliament, reported on Sunday that the CIA director had visited Kiev at the weekend for talks with Ukraine's leaders.
The source said that Brennan, traveling under an assumed name, had recommended that Ukraine's pro-Western leadership use force against pro-Kremlin militants in the east.