Russia says even idea of war with Ukraine is 'unacceptable'

A Russian army service member is seen on an armoured personnel carrier BTR-82 during drills at the Kuzminsky range in the southern Rostov region, Russia January 26, 2022. REUTERS/Sergey Pivovarov
A Russian foreign ministry spokesman said on Thursday that even the thought of a war breaking out between Russia and Ukraine was "unacceptable", the latest in a series of official statements aimed at quashing fears of a looming Russian invasion.

"We have already repeatedly stated that our country does not intend to attack anyone. We consider even the thought of a war between our people to be unacceptable," said Alexei Zaitsev, a spokesman for the ministry.

Russia, which seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and has backed an insurgency in eastern Ukraine, has built up forces on its territory near Ukraine as well as in neighbouring Belarus.

Kyiv rejects Russia's version that the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine is a civil war that has nothing to do with Moscow, saying Russia is supporting the separatists with covert forces on the ground.