The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed its "bewilderment and regret" Tuesday over Ukrainian plans to mark the 350th anniversary of the Battle of Konotop next July, according to RIA Novosti.The official statement said "certain forces in Ukraine are trying to search through the common, complex and controversial Russian-Ukrainian history for events and personalities famous for being anti Moscow, against Russia and Russians."
The Battle of Konotop took place on June 29, 1659 between Ukraine`s rebel leader, Ivan Vyhovsky, along with his allies - Crimean Tatars and Poles - against the Russian army led by Alexei Trubetskoy.
"The bloody battle after the treason of another hetman [military commander] is one of them," the ministry said, adding that it hopes that the Ukrainian people will not let the country`s authorities involve it in an "unnatural and sophisticated confrontation with Russia."
Ukrainian nationalists claim that during the battle near the northeastern town of Konotop, Vyhovsky defeated a regiment from Moscow, while Russia says Trubetskoy was not crushed, though his army suffered substantial losses.
The Russian Foreign Ministry maintained in their statement that the military campaign was launched by Trubetskoy after the military commander, Vyhovsky, broke an oath to Moscow.
President Viktor Yushchenko ordered the government in March to set up an organizing committee to commemorate the battle, as well as to shoot a documentary film and build a memorial complex devoted to the "victory."