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Further Russian intervention in Ukrainian crisis will not be tolerated

Publication Date : 11-04-2014

 

Further interventions in which Russia uses force in Ukraine’s domestic situation cannot be tolerated.

In three eastern Ukraine provinces where many Russian-speaking people live, the beleaguered nation has deteriorated into a state of chaos, as evidenced by the seizure of provincial government buildings by pro-Russian demonstrators.

In two of the three provinces, Donetsk and Kharkiv, pro-Moscow activists have declared the creation of “people’s republics,” both of which are devoid of any legal basis. Protesters in Donetsk against the Ukrainian authorities are reportedly poised to carry out a referendum to consider the possibility of secession from Ukraine.

These moves are reminiscent of Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in the southern region of Ukraine last month by way of a disputed referendum that ran counter to the Ukrainian Constitution. There is no doubt that Russia is behind them.

Moscow has built up tens of thousands of troops on the Ukrainian border. According to information from the US government, Russian special forces and intelligence service agents have crossed the border into Ukraine, maneuvering to instigate pro-Russian separatists.

Could it be that Russia is trying to set the stage for a military intervention on the pretext of protecting ethnic Russians in the east? Since even the ethnic Russians, as a matter of course, belong to the nation of Ukraine, Moscow’s self-serving logic is completely unacceptable.

If the chaos in Ukraine escalates, it will give rise to fears of major clashes between antigovernment protesters and the country’s security forces. Does Moscow truly have no option of acting with restraint instead of exerting continuous pressure on Ukraine?

Still Ukraine’s Constitution

Russia has come up with a proposal that Ukraine revise its Constitution to shift to a federal system and stipulate military neutrality. The proposal is most likely designed to place the east under Moscow’s influence by making it independent of the central government through the adoption of a federal system, with the aim of preventing Ukraine from joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Constitutional decisions, however, are in the hands of the Ukrainian people, not Russia.

In Ukraine, a presidential election will be held in May to launch a full-fledged administration to replace the current interim government. The international community should join forces to ensure that the election is conducted fairly.

During the period leading up to the presidential election, the interim government must do its best to bring calm to the chaotic state of affairs by reducing unrest on the part of ethnic Russians through such means as having radical nationalists, who are strongly inclined to be against Moscow, lay down their arms.

Strapped with huge amounts of government debt, Ukraine has seen its fiscal condition become increasingly stringent. The Ukrainian government is urged to address the task of drastic economic reform to garner confidence from nations set to extend assistance to Ukraine.

It is only natural that the United States and the European Union have taken a stiffer line than ever toward Russia.

Washington has expressed its intention to mete out additional sanctions against Moscow in such key sectors as energy, financial services and mining as long as Russia fails to change its current stance.

The four parties concerned—the United States, Russia, the EU and the Ukrainian interim government—are scheduled to hold foreign ministerial talks next week. We hope to see the talks reach an agreement on the need to find a way to ease tensions through negotiations.

 

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