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Putin spokesman says Russia will not intervene in Ukraine protests

Russia will not intervene in the raging anti-government protests in Ukraine and believes its leadership will find a way out, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday.

MOSCOW: Russia will not intervene in the raging anti-government protests in Ukraine and believes its leadership will find a way out, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday.

"We consider we do not have the right to intervene in any way in the internal affairs of our brother Ukraine. That's unacceptable and Russia has not done this and will not do it," Peskov said in an interview published on the website of Komsomolskaya Pravda daily.

Putin has yet to comment personally on the latest violent clashes in Kiev in which five activists have been killed, four of them reportedly with gunshots, and police deployed tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets.

The protests broke out in November after President Viktor Yanukovych rejected a deal for closer integration with the European Union under pressure from Russia. Putin then offered Yanukovych a $15 billion bailout deal.

Peskov said that the Kremlin viewed events in Ukraine "with huge attention, with anxiety and sometimes with pain," but was confident President Viktor Yanukovych would resolve the situation.

"In Moscow, they are convinced that the Ukrainian leadership knows very well what to do," Peskov said.

"We are convinced that in Kiev they know what to do and will find the best way forward in order to normalise the situation so that everything returns to a legal, peaceful course," Peskov said.

Russia has blamed the opposition and the West for the clashes and Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin on Wednesday told the Interfax news agency that "Ukraine's legitimate authorities face outside interference in its internal affairs," referring to EU and US statements.

Peskov complained that "foreign ambassadors who work in Kiev are talking about what the Ukrainian authorities should do, from where it should withdraw its internal troops, from where it should withdraw police and so on."

"From outside they are telling them what to do. For us, this is an absolutely inconceivable situation. Of course we cannot approve this and instead it makes us feel outraged," Peskov said.

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