Ukraine is open to negotiations with Russia about the fate of Crimea, that country’s ambassador to the U.S. said, even as he condemned Russian aggression.
“Ukraine is open for negotiations on the settlement of Crimea situation,” Ambassador Olexander Motsyk said today in e-mailed responses to questions. He called on Europe and the U.S. to make Russia pay “a high price, both political and economic,” for “an aggression which shakes the foundation of the global security architecture.”
Motsyk described the Crimean vote to secede from Ukraine and join Russia as an “illegal and sham referendum which was organized by Russia and implemented by the Kremlin using criminals.”
“Ukraine will never give up Crimea,” Motsyk said. “Crimea will always be an integral part of Ukraine.”
Here are excerpts of questions and answers provided by Motsyk, 58, a former deputy foreign minister and ambassador to Poland, who became ambassador to the U.S. in June 2010:
Q: What is Ukraine’s response to President Putin’s announcement that Russia will formally annex Crimea?
A: The whole international community today is united in condemnation of Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. The United States, European Union, and almost all other countries in the world will never recognize the results of an illegal and sham referendum, which was organized by Russia and implemented by the Kremlin using criminals.
Russian aggression is leading only to the international isolation of Russia itself. Ukraine will never give up Crimea. Crimea will always be an integral part of Ukraine.
Q: Putin has suggested Ukraine adopt a federal system that devolves power to various regions and a neutral military and diplomatic posture.
A: This so-called proposal reflects a completely unacceptable approach: redraw Ukraine’s borders, deprive it of sovereign right to domestic and foreign policy, and undermine the foundations of the system of international relations in post-war, post-communist and post-Soviet Europe.
Ukraine is open for negotiations on the settlement of Crimea situation. Such negotiations, however, may take place only with full-fledged participation of Ukraine and on the basis of respect to the principles of territorial integrity and noninterference into domestic matters of our state.
Q: Will Ukraine push to expand its cooperation with NATO?
A: Ukraine has always been a reliable partner of NATO. My country has participated in all major NATO-led operations, and Ukraine will actively continue to work with the alliance in tackling global security threats and challenges.
Q: Has there been progress on getting U.S. and European aid to support Ukraine economically?
A: Ukraine urgently needs international financial and economic assistance. Our national economy has been practically ruined by previous corrupt government. The Russian intervention in Crimea has inflicted yet another blow to the Ukrainian economy and finance system. My country works closely with the United States, the European Union, the IMF, the World Bank and we hope to receive loans and other assistance as soon as possible.
Q: How will Ukraine react in the event of a Russian military incursion into Eastern Ukraine?
A: We really hope that Russia will not choose such self-destructive path. At the same time, we do not exclude Russian military invasion to the Eastern Ukraine. The military mobilization in Ukraine announced recently is the evidence that we are preparing to face any threat.
We hope that the world will do its best to prevent further tragedy, because nobody in this case could feel safe.
However, I would like to say again that we are open to the dialogue, a true dialogue without any intimidation, and a dialogue which does not question sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, with Crimea being an inalienable part of our country.
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