Spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Maria Zakharova says that Russia's "friendly attitude" to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people "is not unlimited."
"You need to understand why such statements are made [by Russia's Foreign Ministry]. They are made to do everything necessary and possible to prevent acts of provocation," Zakharova said in Moscow on December 26, explaining why the Russian MFA constantly "warns" about alleged preparations by Ukraine for the extension of martial law, but such statements have never become reality, according to an UNIAN correspondent in Russia.
"When information about plans that are in the pipeline is made public and we call a spade a spade, this draws the attention of the sponsors of the regime, who have in one way or another been very concerned about the situation in the region. All of this is aimed at prevention of such provocation in practice rather than at aggressive rhetoric. More specifically, it was aimed at disrupting that provocation," she added.
"In response to your question about when to expect the provocation: I'd like to hope that we won't have to worry about it again. The unprecedented patience and truly friendly attitude of Russia demonstrated in relation to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people is also not unlimited," the official said.
According to Zakharova, "not a single hour" was spent on minimizing that hypothetical provocation and "a very large number of people were involved" in this to prevent "catastrophic consequences."
As UNIAN reported earlier, on December 13, Zakharova claimed, echoing allegations by Russian-controlled illegal armed formations in Donbas, that the Ukrainian Army had been planning to advance in order to cancel presidential and parliamentary elections, scheduled in Ukraine in 2019.
On December 17, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Ukraine had been masterminding an act of "provocation" on the Russian-Ukrainian border, which might happen late in December, therefore he had promised "retaliation." "Additional information that we have got and which we tend to trust is that [Ukrainian President Petro] Poroshenko is planning an armed provocation on the border with the Russian Federation, on the border with Crimea in the course of last ten days in December," Lavrov said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine called such allegations by the Russian side another influence operation.