Simferopol (Ukraine) (AFP) - Ukraine braced Saturday for new pro-Russian protests in the tense eastern city of Donetsk after Moscow threatened to stop crucial gas supplies to the country, further escalating hostilities with the West. Donetsk, a focal point of the crisis engulfing Ukraine since the protests that toppled president Viktor Yanukovych, was expecting a large demonstration by activists demanding a secession referendum like the one planned for the Crimean peninsula. The latest show of pro-Moscow sentiment in the largely Russian-speaking southeast comes after Russia threatened Friday to halt gas supplies to Ukraine following Western sanctions to punish the Kremlin for seizing de facto control of Crimea.
Russia is open to having an "honest, equal" dialogue with foreign states on the crisis in Ukraine, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday. "We are open to an honest, equal and objective dialogue with our foreign partners to find a way to help all of Ukraine come out of the crisis," Lavrov said at a televised news conference in Moscow with his Tajik counterpart, in a clear reference to the West.