Europe

Russia could break diplomatic ties with Ukraine, PM says

  • FILE - In this March 23, 2016 file photo Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier listens to a journalist's question during a news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov news conference in Moscow, Russia. Steinmeier is appealing to Russia and Ukraine to avoid a further escalation in tensions after Moscow accused Kiev of sending "saboteurs" to conduct attacks in Crimea and Ukraine put troops on the de-facto border on combat alert. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, file)

    FILE - In this March 23, 2016 file photo Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier listens to a journalist's question during a news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov news conference in Moscow, Russia. Steinmeier is appealing to Russia and Ukraine to avoid a further escalation in tensions after Moscow accused Kiev of sending "saboteurs" to conduct attacks in Crimea and Ukraine put troops on the de-facto border on combat alert. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, file)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this grab taken from a footage provided by Russian Federal Security Service Press Service, a handcuffed man identified as Yevgeny Panov, suspected of being involved in a group that Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) identified as Ukrainian 'saboteurs,' is led by FSB officers in Crimea, on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016. The FSB said its agents thwarted an attempt by Ukrainian 'saboteurs' to conduct terror attacks in Crimea. Ukraine has denied the claim. (Russian Federal Security Service Press Service via AP)

    In this grab taken from a footage provided by Russian Federal Security Service Press Service, a handcuffed man identified as Yevgeny Panov, suspected of being involved in a group that Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) identified as Ukrainian 'saboteurs,' is led by FSB officers in Crimea, on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016. The FSB said its agents thwarted an attempt by Ukrainian 'saboteurs' to conduct terror attacks in Crimea. Ukraine has denied the claim. (Russian Federal Security Service Press Service via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this grab taken from a footage provided by Russian Federal Security Service Press Service, a handcuffed man identified as Yevgeny Panov, suspected of being involved in a group that Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) identified as Ukrainian 'saboteurs,' is led by FSB officers in Crimea, on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016. The FSB said its agents thwarted an attempt by Ukrainian 'saboteurs' to conduct terror attacks in Crimea. Ukraine has denied the claim. (Russian Federal Security Service Press Service via AP)

    In this grab taken from a footage provided by Russian Federal Security Service Press Service, a handcuffed man identified as Yevgeny Panov, suspected of being involved in a group that Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) identified as Ukrainian 'saboteurs,' is led by FSB officers in Crimea, on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016. The FSB said its agents thwarted an attempt by Ukrainian 'saboteurs' to conduct terror attacks in Crimea. Ukraine has denied the claim. (Russian Federal Security Service Press Service via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says Russia could break diplomatic ties with Ukraine over reported security incidents in Crimea, something it did not do even after annexing Crimea or throwing its support behind separatist rebels in the east.

State news agencies on Friday quoted Medvedev as saying that he wouldn't like the ties to be severed but "if there is no other way to change the situation, the president could take this step."

Despite the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea and fighting in eastern Ukraine, Kiev and Moscow did not break diplomatic ties.

The announcement comes after Ukraine put its troops on combat alert Thursday along the country's de-facto borders with Crimea and separatist rebels in the east, amid an escalating war of words with Russia over Crimea.