THE WORLDPOST
03/23/2014 11:05 am ET Updated Mar 24, 2014

Ukrainian Foreign Minister: Possibility Of War With Russia 'Very High' And 'Growing'

Ukraine Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia said Sunday that the likelihood of armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine was "very high" and "growing."

"I would say if you wanted to measure [the possibility of war] somehow, it's becoming higher," Deshchytsia told George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week." "Because the problem is that Russians, and particularly Putin’s administration -- Putin himself is not talking to the rest of the world, he doesn't want to listen to the world, he doesn't want to respond on the arguments."

"We don't know what Putin has in his mind and what will be his decision," Deshchytsia went on. "That's why this situation is becoming even more explosive than it used to be a week ago."

NATO's top military commander said Sunday that Russia had a "very sizable" and "very ready" military force on Ukraine's eastern border. Russian President Vladimir Putin officially annexed the Crimean peninsula on Friday. The next day, Russian forces took control of the remaining Ukrainian military bases in the area.

Vladimir Chizhov, the Russian ambassador to the European Union, said Sunday that Russia doesn't harbor "expansionist views" and didn't have its eye on other Ukrainian territories.

"There is no intention of the Russian Federation to do anything like that," Chizhov said.

Deshchytsia said Sunday that he hoped the standoff could be resolved diplomatically, but added that Ukrainians were ready to "defend the homeland."

"We are trying to use all the diplomatic measures and all the economic, financial and other sanctions, visa sanctions, to stop Russians not to do this," he said. "But it's very difficult to keep people restrained, and they are patriots of their homeland ... [It] would be difficult for them just simply sit or stay and look at Russia invading their country."

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