Things are moving very fast in Ukraine today. President Yanukovych, after the bloodbath this week on the streets of Kyiv, has been thrown out of office by the parliament. The country is in turmoil, and in the east, centered on Kharkiv, the Moscow-backed Ukrainian Front that I informed you of three weeks ago, is arming the population and preparing for war.
And now the Russian Foreign Ministry has made its position clear in a new press release on its website – the new government in Kyiv is illegitimate and it’s the West’s fault. This is a remarkably rough diplomatic message. It cannot be construed as anything less than a threat to an independent Ukraine. The full text follows …
“About a telephone conversation between Russian Foreign Minister S.V. Lavrov and the foreign ministers of Germany, Poland and France”
On 22 February, separate telephone conversations took place between Russian Foreign Minister S.V. Lavrov and German Foreign Minister F.-W. Steinmeier, Polish Foreign Minister R. Sikorski and French Foreign Minister L. Fabius.
S.V. Lavrov expressed the most serious concern over the inability of those who signed the agreement in Kyiv on 21 February to agree. Not only did the opposition fail to honor any of its commitments, it is also putting forward new demands, taking its cue from the armed extremists and rioters whose actions pose a direct threat to Ukraine’s sovereignty and constitutional order.
The Russian Minister called emphatically on Germany, Poland and France, as countries who actively promoted and witnessed the signing of the agreement on 21 February, to use their influence over the opposition in order to ensure the agreement is implemented immediately and the disorderly roughnecks are restrained. It is time to stop misleading the international community and giving the impression that today’s Maidan represents the interests of the Ukrainian people.
F.-W. Steinmeier, R. Sikorski and L. Fabius shared the Russian side’s concern, recognized that the opposition had failed to honor their commitments and promised to take additional steps as a matter of urgency in order to ensure the implementation of the agreements that have been reached.