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​Ukrainian crisis: The way toward a solution

Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Deputy foreign minister (2005-2011).

Published time: May 10, 2014 14:18
A woman walks past a burning barricade near the city hall in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine May 10, 2014. (Reuters / Marko Djurica)

It is beginning clearer to everyone that the main responsibility for the crisis that emerged in Ukraine lies with the organizers of the coup d’état in Kiev in February.

The coup has launched the spread of extremism, violence and instability. The responsibility also lies with those who supported these actions financially and politically.

But while the crisis is deepening and the Kiev government continues to use its army against the Ukrainian people, we must look for solutions to end the crisis as soon as possible. That is why Russia urges the interim government to cease immediately its military operation in the East of Ukraine as the only way to stop violence in the whole country.

A solution to the Ukrainian crisis lies in a direct, genuine, equal and honest dialogue between the Kiev government and representatives of Ukraine’s South and East. To launch it, both parties should make mutual concessions. The indispensable first step is for Kiev to end the use of force by the army and suppress illegal armed radical groups. Visible guarantees of the legitimate rights of all people must be created. As part of this peaceful settlement, all political prisoners must be freed, not only Pavel Gubarev.

In the context of creating the conditions for national dialogue, Russia has urged the representatives of Southeast Ukraine to postpone the referendums planned for May 11.

Russia is ready to contribute to the peaceful resolution of the crisis, based on the principles agreed at the meeting in Geneva on April 17, including disarming all illegal armed groups, vacating all illegally seized public buildings and public spaces, granting an amnesty to all protesters, and a launch of an inclusive, transparent and accountable constitutional process. To alleviate ill-conceived fears, Russia has removed its troops from the Ukrainian border. We have also contributed to freeing European military observers in Slavyansk.

Today, we are studying OSCE’s roadmap on resolving the situation in Ukraine. Transparent and democratic presidential elections in Ukraine, as well as the subsequent creation of a legitimate government, proposed in the roadmap, may be steps in the right direction. However elections can’t resolve the crisis per se, unless citizens see guarantees of their rights and security.

The results of the constitutional process must also be visible to the Ukrainian people. Otherwise how could Ukrainians vote for their president, if constitutional reform to redefine his duties has not taken place?

Russia is not and will never be a party to this conflict. What Russia is ready to do is to contribute to the peaceful dialogue together with the EU, US and OSCE. But resolving the crisis is in the hands of Ukrainians, and the sooner the interim government in Kiev understands it, the better.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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