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Russia's Lavrov blames Ukraine conflict on U.S. 'hybrid war' against Moscow

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This content was produced in Russia where the law restricts coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine.

MOSCOW, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday accused the United States of preparing the ground for the conflict in Ukraine as part of what he called a hybrid war against Moscow.

Speaking at a news conference in the Russian capital, Lavrov said the crisis in Ukraine started long before Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops into the country last February in what the Kremlin called a "special military operation."

Washington and the West accuse Moscow of prosecuting an unprovoked colonial-style land grab in Ukraine, while Russia casts the clash as an historical one between it and the West. (Reporting by Reuters Editing by Andrew Osborn)