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Russia's foreign minister warns that Ukraine is preparing for military assault on the east

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov listens for a question during his and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier news conference in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is shuttling between Kiev and Moscow on Tuesday, urged the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists to respect their cease-fire agreement, which has helped to halt ground combat but failed to stop daily artillery exchanges. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov listens for a question during his and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier news conference in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is shuttling between Kiev and Moscow on Tuesday, urged the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists to respect their cease-fire agreement, which has helped to halt ground combat but failed to stop daily artillery exchanges. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)  (The Associated Press)

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov gestures as he answers questions during the session of the State Duma, Russian Parliament's lower chamber, in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. Lavrov on Wednesday claimed that Ukraine's decision to freeze budget payments to the eastern rebel-held territories could be a precursor to a military onslaught. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov gestures as he answers questions during the session of the State Duma, Russian Parliament's lower chamber, in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. Lavrov on Wednesday claimed that Ukraine's decision to freeze budget payments to the eastern rebel-held territories could be a precursor to a military onslaught. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)  (The Associated Press)

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov gestures as he answers questions during the session of the State Duma, Russian Parliament's lower chamber, in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. Lavrov on Wednesday claimed that Ukraine's decision to freeze budget payments to the eastern rebel-held territories could be a precursor to a military onslaught. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov gestures as he answers questions during the session of the State Duma, Russian Parliament's lower chamber, in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. Lavrov on Wednesday claimed that Ukraine's decision to freeze budget payments to the eastern rebel-held territories could be a precursor to a military onslaught. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)  (The Associated Press)

Russia's foreign policy chief claims that Ukraine's decision to freeze budget payments to the eastern rebel-held territories could be a precursor to a military onslaught.

Ukrainian officials announced earlier this month that they will freeze the $2.6 billion in state support to the areas now in rebel hands, which could further worsen the deplorable economic situation there.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday voiced his suspicions that by doing so, Kiev is "preparing the ground for another invasion in order to solve the issue by force."

Dozens of armored trucks, artillery and other heavy weaponry were seen moving around rebel-held areas in the past weeks, fueling fears of the resumption of the hostilities there. Despite the cease-fire, civilians and combatants still are dying in daily shelling.