John Kerry Sergei Lavrov
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said the West should stop blaming Russia over Ukraine crisisReuters

Western countries should stop trying to blame and isolate Russia over the ongoing crisis in eastern Ukraine, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.

Calling on Kiev to hold direct talks with the pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country, Lavrov said it "makes no sense" to try and resolve the conflict without engaging the rebels.

The United States and the European Union have accused Russia of fuelling the conflict in eastern Ukraine by supplying fighters and weapons, but Russia has denied the allegations.

"Our Western colleagues, some European countries but Americans first and foremost...if they want to try to present us as the main culprits, which is what they are constantly doing...this is not right, this won't work," he said, as quoted by Reuters news agency.

Lavrov also reiterated Moscow's previous demands that Kiev's western backers push the central government to grant rebel-held regions of eastern Ukraine more autonomy.

The foreign minister also attacked France over its decision to delay the delivery of a controversial warship to Russia. French President Francois Hollande last week announced that Paris would continue to delay the delivery of a Mistral warship "until further notice," citing the situation in eastern Ukraine.

Lavrov said the delay would harm France's standing as a reliable trading partner.

"I am a little fed up with this question. It is not our problem anymore, it is a problem of France's reputation. They have to fulfil all the obligations under the contract," Lavrov said, as cited by Agence France Presse.