MOSCOW: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday said that Western countries appear to have lost "their sense of reality" over the pro-EU protests in Ukraine, which he called the work of provocateurs.
He said the "frenzied" reaction to Ukraine's scrapping of the Association Agreement with the European Union last month was a disproportionate response to a "perfectly normal" decision.
"What did the government of (President Viktor) Yanukovych do? Did it quit the non-proliferation treaty? Did it announce that it is creating a nuclear bomb? Or maybe it executed somebody?"
"There is a street protest on such a scale and with such harsh slogans, as if the country has declared war on some peaceful state against the wishes of the Ukrainian people," Lavrov said in an interview with Rossiya 24 channel.
"That doesn't fit into the framework of normal human analysis. I have no doubt that provocateurs are behind it. The fact that our Western partners seem to have lost their sense of reality makes me very sad."
Ukraine has rejected a broad trade and political association agreement with the EU after citing the economic damage it would suffer from a loss in trade with Russia.
The abrupt U-turn sparked the biggest wave of protests since the 2004 pro-democracy Orange Revolution in the ex-Soviet country.
Lavrov said in his interview that the EU is "luring" Ukraine and other Eastern European countries because of their lucrative markets, "which would be flooded by more competitive EU products and wipe out their industries."
"Now our EU partners are worried that such cheap, almost free, added profit... is slipping away."
Another reason for the West's reaction is ideological, he said.
"Those who... set severing our neighbours from us -- even if it was artificial and by using blackmail -- as the main goal of the eastern partnership project saw that it's not that easy."