Russia says Molotov cocktail thrown at its Ukraine consulate

Russia summons Ukrainian official and demands an apology over the ‘act of terrorism’ against its consulate in Lviv city.

The Russian foreign ministry building on a foggy day in central Moscow [File: Alexander Nemenov/AFP]

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia says a Molotov cocktail was thrown at its consulate in Ukraine’s Lviv and that it has formally protested over the attack, calling it “an act of terrorism”.

The ministry on Friday summoned a Ukrainian official and demanded an apology over the incident, which came amid rising tensions between the two countries.

The Russian ministry also said in a statement that a note was sent to the regional office of Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry and an appeal addressed to the head of Lviv’s national police “with a demand to take urgent measures to strengthen the security of the institution [consulate] and its employees, as well as to search for and punish those responsible”.

The statement referred to the attack as a “dangerous incident” and blamed the Ukrainian authorities for it.

“The terrorist act” against the Russian consulate in Lviv was the result of inciting hatred and enmity towards Russia in Ukraine, the ministry said.

Vladimir Putin answers questions in front of microphones.Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow on Thursday [Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Pool via Reuters]

‘Russophobic hysteria’

“It is obvious that such a blatant and unacceptable action was the result of whipping up Russophobic hysteria in Ukraine, inciting hatred and enmity towards the Russian Federation,” it said.

“The Charge d’Affaires of Ukraine in the Russian Federation was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry, to whom a strong protest was made and the requirements for the Ukrainian side to fulfill its international obligations to ensure security and create appropriate conditions for the normal functioning of Russian diplomatic and consular missions,” the ministry said.

The Russian ministry said it hoped that the Ukrainian authorities would take the necessary steps to fulfil their international legal obligations, identify and prosecute those responsible and provide guarantees that such incidents would not happen again.

“We also expect an apology for Kyiv’s failure to fulfill its obligations to ensure the proper security of the Russian consular establishment,” the statement said.

Ukrainian police in Lviv said they had launched an investigation into the incident, which they referred to as “hooliganism”.

US intelligence officials say Russia has moved 70,000 soldiers to its border with Ukraine.

This has stoked fears in Kyiv and the West that the Kremlin may start a new war with its neighbour and former province that chose to break away from Moscow’s political orbit.

Earlier this month, a top Ukrainian military expert told Al Jazeera that Russia could invade Ukraine as early as January, unleashing a “brief and victorious” war.

But Russia denies it is planning an invasion and has accused Ukrainian authorities of planning an offensive to reclaim control of rebel-held eastern Ukraine – an allegation Ukraine rejects.

Fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine began after Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. The conflict has killed more than 14,000 people and devastated Ukraine’s industrial heartland of Donbas.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies