After several days of relative silence, the Russian government reacted Monday to events in Ukraine -- with Russia's prime minister questioning the legitimacy of the interim government in Kyiv and the foreign ministry charging that "dictatorial" and "terrorist" methods are being used against opponents of the new government.
Referring to the forces that removed Viktor Yanukovych as Ukraine's president, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told reporters in Moscow that there is no one for the Russian government to communicate with in Ukraine. He called Mr. Yanukovych's removal essentially "an armed mutiny."
Russia's Foreign Ministry echoed that sentiment -- describing recent events in Ukraine as an armed confrontation between "militant thugs" and law enforcement units trying to protect civilians. The ministry urged Ukrainians to resist what it called "extremists seeking power." It accused Ukraine's parliament of taking actions aimed at infringing on the rights of Russians and other ethnic minorities.
Moscow also said the new Ukrainian authorities are trying to ban the Russian language and lift restrictions on neo-Nazi propaganda. And it accused unnamed "Western partners" of Russia of failing to condemn the events.
The United States and Britain have warned Russia not to send forces into Ukraine. U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice said Russian military intervention would be a "grave mistake."
On Sunday, Russia recalled its ambassador to Kyiv for consultations on what it described as the "deteriorating situation in Ukraine."