Russia criticized Ukraine’s new rulers on Monday, blaming Western meddlers for installing an illegal interim government, which Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev dismissed as a group of “Kalashnikov-toting” mutineers, with which the Kremlin would not work, obviously side with the previous administration it controlled. The first reaction from Russia on the political transition in Kiev puts it at odds with the European Union, which considers recent events as a legitimate transfer of power against a corrupt despot in the pocket of Russia to an acting government which is keen to rekindle ties with its neighbours to the west. The EU’s top diplomat, Catherine Ashton, flew into Kiev on Monday to meet the parliamentary Speaker, Olexandr Turchynov, whom the bloc has recognized as Ukraine’s interim President. Moscow, however, made clear it had a different view of the events of the past week, when the deaths of dozens of protesters led to an EU-brokered peace deal and President Viktor Yanukovych’s flight to his eastern strongholds.
“If you consider Kalashnikov-toting people in black masks who are roaming Kiev to be the government, then it will be hard for us to work with that government,” Mr Medvedev told the state-run RIA news agency. “Some of our foreign partners think differently.”
A Russian foreign ministry statement said the EU-backed peace deal negotiated on Friday was partly to blame because it was used as cover “for a forced change of power” despite the fact that the Ukraine people had flooded the streets of Kiev in peaceful protest for days until the government killed over 80 activists which failed to arrest the crisis.