Putin aide accuses US of funding Ukraine rebels

KIEV - An advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Washington on Thursday of financing and arming Ukrainian militants as a senior US official arrived for crisis talks in Kiev.

Putin's economic advisor Sergei Glazyev, often seen as the Kremlin's pointman on Ukraine, also suggested that Russia had legal grounds to intervene in the two-month-old crisis, describing the situation at attempted coup.

"According to our information, American sources spend US$20 million a week on financing the opposition and rebels, including on weapons," he said in a wide-ranging interview with the Ukrainian edition of Russian broadsheet Kommersant published Thursday.

"We have information that the militants are briefed on the territory of the US embassy, that they are being armed. Of course it is unacceptable, this has to be looked into," he said.

Glazyev also indicated that Russia had legal grounds to intervene in the crisis, referring to the so-called Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances dating back to 1994.

"According to this document, Russia and the United States are guarantors of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and frankly speaking they are obliged to intervene when such conflicts arise."

The memorandum was signed after Ukraine demanded security guarantees in connection with its accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

The Kremlin advisor also accused the Ukrainian government as well as the opposition and Western powers of peddling lies and distorting reality.

"What is happening in Kiev is described well in Ukrainian legislation - this is an attempted coup, an attempt to overthrow the authorities by force."

"The situation is schizophrenic because for some reason everyone is afraid of calling a spade a spade."

"The West calls terrorists and putschists 'activists' (and) tries to present them as peaceful demonstrators even though everyone sees how they attack police and hurl Molotov cocktails at them, prepare napalm, and arm themselves."

"The paradox of a schizophrenic state is that it is comfortable with the sides lying to each other and they do not want to reach agreement before catastrophe strikes."

"The powers that be fear for their billions. That's why they are trying to tough it out without losing anything, which only makes the disease worse."

The hawkish aide last year threatened Ukraine with economic retaliation if it signed a key partnership pact with the European Union.

In November, President Viktor Yanukovych scrapped plans to sign the agreement, sparking the current crisis.

Last week, Glazyev said Yanukovych would lose power if he did not "quash the rebellion."