Washington’s UN envoy accused Russia of spinning “outright lies” on Ukraine designed to hide the Kremlin’s direct involvement in a war it launched to thwart Kiev’s pro-Western drive.

Samantha Power’s address to a crowd of hundreds in Kiev delivered one of Washington’s toughest messages to Moscow since the warring sides grudgingly signed off on a loosely defined truce in February that threatened to collapse last week.

Her emotional 70-minute speech also came a year into a presidency Petro Poroshenko has used to try to wipe out decades of crippling corruption and anaemic economic growth that left Ukraine reliant on Russian help.

Power said Russia launched the war in Ukraine’s vital eastern industrial heartland 14 months ago in order to drain the new government’s remaining financial resources and undermine its public support.

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