Ukraine's prime minister has told The Associated Press that Russia plans to eliminate his country as an independent state and could spark a new offensive in the east to achieve that aim.

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said in an interview Friday that Russia was uninterested in de-escalating Ukraine's conflict with separatist forces, despite its commitment to maintain a peace deal made in February.

Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of direct involvement in the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine which has left over 6,000 dead in the last year. Moscow denies that charge.

Yatsenyuk said the West must stay united in helping Ukraine repel Russian aggression and that achieving this would be the "joint success of the entire free world."