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Commentary: It's not Russia that is destabilising Ukraine
Published on April 9, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Sergey Lavrov

The profound and pervasive crisis in Ukraine is a matter of grave concern for Russia. We understand perfectly well the position of a country which became independent just over 20 years ago and still faces complex tasks in constructing a sovereign state. Among them is the search for a balance of interests among its various regions, the peoples of which have different historical and cultural roots, speak different languages and have different perspectives on their past and present, and their country's future place in the world.

sergey_lavrov.jpg
Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov is the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
Given these circumstances, the role of external forces should have been to help Ukrainians protect the foundations of civil peace and sustainable development, which are still fragile. Russia has done more than any other country to support the independent Ukrainian state, including for many years subsidising its economy through low energy prices. Last November, at the outset of the current crisis, we supported Kiev's wish for urgent consultations between Ukraine, Russia and the EU to discuss harmonising the integration process. Brussels flatly rejected it. This stand reflected the unproductive and dangerous line the EU and US have been taking for a long time. They have been trying to compel Ukraine to make a painful choice between east and west, further aggravating internal differences.

Ukraine's realities notwithstanding, massive support was provided to political movements promoting western influence, and it was done in direct breach of the Ukrainian constitution. This is what happened in 2004, when President Viktor Yushchenko won an unconstitutional third round of elections introduced under EU pressure. This time round, power in Kiev was seized undemocratically, through violent street protests conducted with the direct participation of ministers and other officials from the US and EU countries.

Assertions that Russia has undermined efforts to strengthen partnerships on the European continent do not correspond to the facts. On the contrary, our country has steadily promoted a system of equal and indivisible security in the Euro-Atlantic area. We proposed signing a treaty to that effect, and advocated the creation of a common economic and human space from the Atlantic to the Pacific which would also be open to post-Soviet countries.

In the meantime, western states, despite their repeated assurances to the contrary, have carried out successive waves of NATO enlargement, moved the alliance's military infrastructure eastward and begun to implement antimissile defence plans. The EU's Eastern Partnership programme is designed to bind the so-called focus states tightly to itself, shutting down the possibility of co-operation with Russia. Attempts by those who staged the secession of Kosovo from Serbia and of Mayotte from the Comoros to question the free will of Crimeans cannot be viewed as anything but a flagrant display of double standards. No less troubling is the pretence of not noticing that the main danger for the future of Ukraine is the spread of chaos by extremists and neo-Nazis.

Russia is doing all it can to promote early stabilisation in Ukraine. We are firmly convinced that this can be achieved through, among other steps: real constitutional reform, which would ensure the legitimate rights of all Ukrainian regions and respond to demands from its south-eastern region to make Russian the state's second official language; firm guarantees on Ukraine's non-aligned status to be enshrined in its laws, thus ensuring its role as a connecting link in an indivisible European security architecture; and urgent measures to halt activity by illegal armed formations of the Right Sector and other ultra-nationalist groups.

We are not imposing anything on anyone, we just see that if it is not done, Ukraine will continue to spiral into crisis with unpredictable consequences. We stand ready to join international efforts aimed at achieving these goals. We support the appeal by foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland to implement the 21 February agreement. Their proposal – to hold Russia-EU talks with the participation of Ukraine and other Eastern Partnership states about the consequences of EU association agreements – corresponds to our position.

The world of today is not a junior school where teachers assign punishments at will. Belligerent statements such as those heard at the NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on 1 April do not match demands for a de-escalation. De-escalation should begin with rhetoric. It is time to stop the groundless whipping-up of tension, and to return to serious common work.
 
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Comments:

Saville Cummings:

This is informed opinion which I find acceptable. Very different from the crap written by PETER BINOSE. 'The world of today is not a Junior School where Teachers assign punishments at will' is for JOHN Mc.Cain and other US belligerent Senators to consider.

DANIEL LASHKOFF:

THE FOREIGN MINISTER OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION IS PARTIALLY RIGHT. THE RUSSIAN PEOPLE IS NOT REALLY THE RERSPONSABLE FOR THE PROBLEMS OF UKRAINE THE MENACE TO PEACE IS IN THE KREMLIN AND THE K.G.B OFFICER WHO RUNS IT.

MARK LAPORTE:

HEY POLIUS YOU READING THIS ?!!

THIS IS THE FOREIGN MINISTER OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION WHO WROTE THIS.

WE IN ST LUCIA NEED A BALANCED VIEW OF THE ONGOING EVENTS.WE CANNOT AFFORD TO TAKE SIDES IN A MANNER THAT FUELS HATE OR DISTRUST ETC,BUT WE DO NEED TO ADHERE TO WHAT IS CORRECT.

LET'S STOP BATTERING OR BULLYING THE RUSSIANS OR ANY RACE,COLOUR CREED OR POLITICAL AFFILIATION.ST LUCIANS WORK HARD TO BETTER THE YACHTING NICHE YOU REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER

HOPE THE RUSSIAN MINISTER'S VIEWPOINT WILL HELP US IN ST LUCIA MAKE A MORE INFORMED BALANCED DECISIONS.

Roland:

Following recent revelations of USAID work in Cuba, who could honestly now dispel the fact of Western involvement in stiring up strife in Ukraine and Venezuela? While Russia's hands are certainly not totally clean, the country has every reason to protect its borders from clear attempts by western powers and NATO to enclose on it and eventually render it helpless to be able to defend itself from any future agression from that block. I am certain that if the shoes were on the other feet, the EU and US would have acted exactly similar to how Russia acted in the Ukraine.

Steve Huggins:

PREBYAT, Sergey.

Yes [I'm a dyed-in-the-wool YES-MAN or 'socialist' dupe], I AGREE WITH YOU --- IT IS THE CAPITALIST-IMPERIALIST united states of america THAT BRUTALLY INVAADED THE SOVEREIGN STATE OF UKRAINE, starting with the CRIMEA, raped/violated UKRAINE'S SOVEREIGNTY AND LAWS, AND ILLEGALLY THIEF SOVEREIGNTY TERRITORY AUTHENTICALLY BELONGING TO UKRAINE.

The KGB AGENT DESPOT the playboy VLADIMIR PUTIN did NOT have a thing to do with any of this. He is totally innocent. ASK the relatives and compatriots of the butchered CHECHENS and others MAULED on his way to absolute CZARIST, IMPERICAL POWER in NEO-IMPERIAL RUSSIA.

Ivan the Terrible and Catherine the Great, even PETER the Great [certainly not Peter Binose] would be quite proud of PUTIE.

IS this IN MEMORIAL of PUTIN's buddies, ADOLPH SCHICKLEGRUBER 'hitler' or Joseph ..... 'Stalin' --- OR, revenge for the decidedly UNFAIR dishonest immoral DISMEMBERING of patchwork POST-TITO land of the South Slavs, YUGOSLAVIA ?

NYET.

Nyet.

Paco Smith:

Steve Huggins,

I concur with your assessment, in its balanced perspective.

Its high time more people begin to take off the prescribed "blinders" that the prevailing world powers assign and call a spade, a "spade".


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