As renewed violence in the city of Kiev on Thursday broke a brief truce between protesters and government security forces, the U.S. government and the European Union are escalating—not helping—the situation, according to critics, by threatening sanctions against the embattled government of President Viktor Yanukovych while supporting (either directly or indirectly) the destabilizing actions of radical right elements lurking within the opposition movement.

Latest reports from the ground suggest that 70 or more people have been killed so far in two days of violence, with hundreds more injured as use of petrol bombs, gunfire, and more aggressive tactics on both sides have intensified.

Painting a scene of events and the city on Thursday, the Guardian reports:

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But as the violence itself has captured most of the headlines—and even as moderate opposition leaders in Ukraine have admitted they have “lost control” of the protests to more “quasi-fascist” and nationalist factions—experts on the situation in Ukraine say that most western media outlets are performing a disservice to the overall situation by casting Russia and Yanukovych as the source of blame for the bloodshed while glossing over key facts about the manner in which Europe and the U.S. have added to the recent instability.

“The highest-ranking State Department official, who presumably represents the Obama administration, and the American ambassador in Kiev are, to put it in blunt terms, plotting a coup d’état against the elected president of Ukraine.” —Stephen Cohen, NYU professor emeritus

“We are talking about the possibility of sanctions or other steps in order to create the atmosphere for compromise,” said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday from Paris. European leaders have issued a similar threat in the last twenty-four hours.

And for its part, the Russian Foreign Ministry, also on Wednesday, painted the U.S. and its western allies in Europe as the hidden culprit for the explosion of violence this week. “What’s going on [in Kiev] is the direct result of the policy of connivance on behalf of Western politicians and European structures,” read a statement from the government of Vladimir Putin. “From the very start of the crisis, [the U.S. and E.U.] have turned a blind eye to the aggressive actions of radical forces in Ukraine, encouraging them to engage in escalation and provocations against the legitimate government.”

Dmitry Peskov, a Putin spokesman, said Russia sees the violent behavior of the violent factions within the protest movement as a “coup attempt.”