Russia Accuses US of Fueling Ukrainian Crisis

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MOSCOW (AP) - Russia's foreign minister has accused the United States of encouraging Ukraine to challenge Moscow.

Speaking in televised remarks Saturday, Sergey Lavrov said that "our American colleagues still prefer to push the Ukrainian leadership toward a confrontational path." He added that chances for settling the Ukrainian crisis would have been higher if it only depended on Russia and Europe.

Lavrov spoke after Friday's European Union summit, which decided not to immediately impose new sanctions on Russia for destabilizing eastern Ukraine, but gave the Russian government and pro-Russian insurgents there until Monday to take steps to improve the situation.

Ukraine on Friday signed a free-trade deal forging close ties with Europe, the deal that angered Russia and triggered the bloodshed and political convulsions of the past seven months.