The Russian parliament granted a request from President Vladimir Putin to authorize deployment of military forces in Ukraine on Saturday. In a series of public remarks over the weekend, Kerry called the move a "brazen act of aggression" and threatened Moscow with devastating economic and political consequences.
"We consider there are unacceptable threats against Russia in the series of public statements by Secretary of State John Kerry in connection with the recent events in Ukraine and Crimea,” the ministry said in a statement.
"Without bothering to grasp the complicated trends underway in Ukrainian society and to gain an unbiased insight into the situation that continues to deteriorate after the violent seizure of power by radical extremists in Ukraine, the Secretary of State continues to employ Cold War clichés by suggesting punishment of Russia instead of those responsible for the state coup.”
The statement continued: "Washington also ignored that Kiev’s newly established regime trampled on the February 21 [reconciliation] agreement, signed by foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland, and formed the "government of winners” that de-facto declared a war on the Russian language and everything Russian.”
Russia called on the US and its allies to stop encouraging nationalist and anti-Russian initiatives by Ukraine’s new leadership and focus on a dialog and mutually acceptable decisions for the pro-European west and pro-Russian east.
"It’s evident that existing threats to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity originate solely from an internal political conflict. Its settlement requires an absolutely different approach from our partners,” the ministry said.
Ukraine appealed for assistance from NATO on Saturday, asking it to take all possible measures to ensure its territorial integrity and protect its people.
In a statement issued on Sunday, NATO expressed "grave concern” about Russia’s authorization of military action in Ukraine, saying that it would be "a breach of international law.”
Russia replied that such a stance by NATO "would not contribute to de-escalation of tensions in Ukraine and would only encourage the forces that would like to use current events for reaching their own irresponsible political goals.”
Moscow also reacted angrily to threats by the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom to dismiss fellow member Russia from the G8 group of top industrialized nations.
Kerry said that Washington was prepared to strip Moscow of its G8 seat, to withdraw investments and businesses from Russia, to impose travel bans and to freeze assets.
In a statement published by the White House, the US and its allies, who symbolically billed themselves as the "G7," said they were putting on hold preparations for the forthcoming G8 summit in the Russian city of Sochi. Russia currently holds the presidency of the G8.
Foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich dismissed the decision as "baseless.”
"This [decision] is not only politically flawed, it is also against the principles of fruitful relationships in this [G8] format, which is intended to use the combined potential of the Group of Eight to benefit [global] development, economic stability and efforts against trans-boundary challenges and threats,” he said.