Bulletin numéro 380 du 02/03/2014. Dévoilement progressif d'une intervention militaire en Crimée - Occupation de la presqu'île par des militaires et paramilitaires russes - Incertitudes sur les intentions réelles des autorités russes - Perspectives d'une crise internationale gravissime - Premiers documents
La presqu’île de Crimée est occupée par la Russie qui a ainsi tiré parti de la crise politique en Ukraine pour mettre la Communauté internationale devant un fait accompli dont on ne comprend pas encore la portée.
Invoquant la liberté de mouvement que l’accord de 1997 accorde à la flotte russe de la Mer noire, l’armée se déploie désormais dans l’ensemble de la Crimée.
Elle installe partout des postes de contrôle. Elle invoque un accord d’assistance qui aurait été conclu avec le nouveau gouvernement régional élu sous son contrôle. Ce gouvernement local s’est attribué l’ensemble des pouvoirs militaires et de police. Les militaires et garde-côtes ukrainiens sont confinés sur leurs bases sous la menace des unités russes. L’occupation est indéniable, l’agression constituée sous le prétexte d’une intervention sollicitée par les autorités locales. Bien inspirée du précédent de 1998 en Géorgie, l’Ukraine évite la confrontation armée. Les tenues russes sont encore camouflées le 1er mars et les autorités de Moscou persistent à maintenir une forme d’ambiguïté sur l’objet de l’intervention russe. La Communauté internationale semble déterminée à réagir à cette forme de violence russe par des voies pacifiques.
En tacticien le Président Poutine abat des cartes progressivement, face à des adversaires diplomatiques et non militaires qui demeurent dans l'expectative.
Il ne peut annexer la Crimée, ni s’ingérer dans la relation entre la Crimée et l’Ukraine, ni s’opposer à la transition politique en Ukraine. Que peut alors espérer la Russie, sinon que la situation dégénère en affrontements intercommunautaires pour installer une nouvelle situation inextricable (conflit gelé) ?
Le samedi 1er mars le Président de la Fédération de Russie a obtenu l'approbation des deux chambres pour une opération militaire en Ukraine qui n'est pas limitée dans le temps, pas forcément restreinte seulement à la Crimée et a pour objet d'assurer la protection des ressortissants russes et des forces armées stationnées en Crimée. L'intervention militaire est désormais ouverte. La Russie provoque ainsi une situation de crise majeure en Europe qui pourrait bien devenir la plus grave de ce début de siècle.
Le Conseil de Sécurité a tenu deux réunions en 24 heures. A l'issue de la réunion de samedi on en sait un peu plus sur les intentions de la Russie.
La Crimée est actuellement occupée entièrement par des forces armées étrangères. Des mitrailleuses sont par exemple en batterie devant le parlement régional. Néanmoins le Président Poutine n'aurait pas encore pris la décision d'intervenir. Non seulement personne n'est dupe, mais les règles qui régissent l'attribution d'un tel fait à un Etat ont précisément pour objet de réduire à néant les manoeuvres de dissimulation grossières, telles que le fait de masquer les insignes militaires.
L'intervention militaire russe n'aurait pas pour objet d'assurer la sécurité des ressortissants russes et des forces militaires russes, mais de faire pression sur la situation politique en Ukraine pour servir les intérêts stratégiques de la Russie. Voudrait-il couper les Ukrainiens russophiles de la majorité ukrainienne que le Président de la Fédération de Russie ne s'y prendrait pas autrement. Il veut obtenir l'application de l'accord du 21 février que la Russie a refusé de signer. Il veut un autre gouvernement qui serait d'union nationale, donc dont il pourrait négocier la composition. Le gouvernement actuel a été approuvé par le parlement ukrainien, la Rada, à une très forte majorité. La Rada représente tous les Ukrainiens, de l'Est comme de l'Ouest. Peut-on imaginer ingérence plus grossière dans les affaires d'un Etat que cette intervention armée en Crimée ? Toute l'habileté de M. Lavrov, déjà percée à jour par l'affaire syrienne, ne suffira pas pour endiguer le désastre diplomatique qui s'annonce pour la Russie.
Je note une sensibilité particulière dans la position française qui rejoint ma conviction personnelle. L'Ukraine est le centre de l'Europe, d'une Europe de l'Atlantique à l'Oural, et sa dualité est sa force, son atout, gage d'avenir. Si un patriotisme unitaire s'oppose pacifiquement à la Russie, celle-ci sera impuissante à provoquer le chaos. Tous les Etats ayant subi l'influence impériale russe au cours de l'Histoire ont été amenés à faire un choix relevant de l'affirmation de l'identité nationale face à l'ingérence extérieure. La statue du patriote bulgare Stamboulov en témoigne face à l'éternité.
March 2, 2014, 01:20
Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the United States Barack Obama on the American side’s initiative.
The two presidents discussed in detail various aspects of the extraordinary situation in Ukraine.
In reply to Mr Obama’s concern over the possibility of the use of Russian armed forces on the territory of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin drew his attention to the provocative and criminal actions on the part of ultranationalists who are in fact being supported by the current authorities in Kiev.
The Russian President spoke of a real threat to the lives and health of Russian citizens and the many compatriots who are currently on Ukrainian territory. Vladimir Putin stressed that in case of any further spread of violence to Eastern Ukraine and Crimea, Russia retains the right to protect its interests and the Russian-speaking population of those areas.
March 1, 2014, 17:50
Vladimir Putin submitted an appeal to the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.
The document reads:
“In connection with the extraordinary situation that has developed in Ukraine and the threat to citizens of the Russian Federation, our compatriots, the personnel of the military contingent of the Russian Federation Armed Forces deployed on the territory of Ukraine (Autonomous Republic of Crimea) in accordance with international agreement; pursuant to Article 102.1 (d) of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, I hereby appeal to the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation to use the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine until the social and political situation in that country is normalised.”
28 FEBRUARY 2014, 10:30
The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Resolution “On the address of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to the guarantor-sates of the Memorandum on Security Assurances in connection with Ukraine's accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons”
( Information Department of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Secretariat )
According to the draft document,
In exchange of its nuclear disarmament (voluntary destruction of over 200 strategic nuclear warheads that Ukraine had inherited from the USSR, and accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as a country that does not possess any nuclear weapons), in the Memorandum on Security Assurances in connection with Ukraine's accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (Budapest Memorandum) dd. 1994 Ukraine received its security assurances.
In the Budapest Memorandum, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the CSCE Final Act, to respect the Independence and Sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.
Also guarantor-states reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine.
The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine to refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind.
In the Budapest Memorandum, the guarantor-states also reaffirm their commitment to consult in the event a situation arises which raises a question concerning these commitments.
In connection with this, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine expresses concern with the latest developments in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, including the information about possible intervention that would become a direct violation of commitments of the Memorandum.
After the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea refused to consider separatist manifestations on February 26, 2014, on February 27, 2014 armed terrorist group, acting under the guise of the Russian Federation, seized the buildings of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the Cabinet of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. On February 27, 2014 there were some attempts to seize the Simferopol airport and airport of Belbek near Sevastopol on the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea by unknown armed fighters.
Apart from this, the Verkhovna Rada expresses concern about carrying out mass military manoeuvres and redeployment of troops in the border regions of Ukraine on the part of the Russian Federation these days.
Besides, recently there have been numerous instances of movement of military equipment of the Black See Fleet of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine that were not agreed with the Ukrainian Party.
Thereat, there are all the grounds to qualify numerous actions on the part of the Russian Federation, particularly establishment of artificial barriers in the bilateral trade with Ukraine, as violation of clause 3 of the Memorandum, under which member states have committed themselves to refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind.
In connection with such actions, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine:
1. Demands the Russian Federation to stop taking steps that feature encroachment on state sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including supporting of separatism in Ukraine in any form. On its part, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine stresses that all the civil rights of the citizens of Ukraine of Russian nationality, guaranteed by the Constitution of Ukraine and Ukraine’s international commitments, including language ones, are and will further be strictly and in full observed in Ukraine.
2. Demands that all the guarantor-states, under the Budapest Memorandum, shall in practice confirm the commitments enshrined in the Memorandum, in accordance with the principles of the CSCE Final Act to respect the Independence and Sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine, reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine.
3. Calls on the Parties to sign the Memorandum and hold immediate consultations with Ukraine in order to alleviate tension and restore the atmosphere of mutual trust.
4. Demands that the guarantor-states, under the Budapest Memorandum, shall uphold conduction on the part of the United Nations Security Council of a monitoring of the situation in separate regions of Ukraine, particularly, in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea as such that might pose a threat to international peace and security. In case of its escalation, the Verkhovna Rada demands that guarantor-states should seek immediate actions on the part of UN Security Council in view of assisting Ukraine as a member state of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, including with consideration of previous consideration of this issue, following the results of which the statement of the President of the UN Security Council of July 20, 1993 was adopted.
5. Invites special missions under the auspices of the OSCE and the Council of Europe to Ukraine to check whether the rights of Ukrainian citizens of all nationalities and denominations in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and other regions of Ukraine are being properly observed.
6. Addresses the United Nations Security Council with a proposal to convene a meeting to consider the aforementioned problems in the context of the UN Security Council statement of July 20, 1993.
The address was approved with consideration of proposals.
The respective bill was registered under No. 4306.
NOTE: la France a fait une déclaration du même ordre. Ces assurances "négatives" de sécurité qui sont associées au TNP n'ont pas pour objet de garantir leur bénéficiaire contre toute agression. La Russie s'est seulement engagée à ne pas commettre une agression comportant l'usage de l'arme nucléaire. La déclaration en question n'est pas très utile, mais la Russie en ce moment ne remet pas en question la souveraineté (formelle ?) de l'Ukraine sur la Crimée.
Publié le 01 Mars 2014
Le Président de la République s’est entretenu aujourd’hui avec M.Donald Tusk, Premier Ministre de Pologne. Ils ont partagé leur plus vive inquiétude à la suite de la décision du Conseil de la Fédération de Russie d’autoriser l’envoi de troupes russes en Ukraine, qui fait peser des menaces réelles sur l’intégrité territoriale et la souveraineté de l’Ukraine.
Le Président de la République a estimé que tout devait être fait pour éviter une intervention extérieure et les risques d’une escalade éminemment dangereuse.
Le Président de la République a salué l’action commune de la Pologne de l’Allemagne et de la France pour sortir de cette crise. Il a appelé à une action européenne rapide et coordonnée lors du prochain Conseil des Affaires Etrangères le 3 mars prochain.
Dans la crise ukrainienne, la France s’efforce de promouvoir une solution politique qui serve les intérêts du peuple ukrainien et préserve l’intégrité territoriale et la souveraineté du pays.
La France est vivement préoccupée par les informations provenant de Crimée, qui font état de mouvements significatifs de forces armées. Nous appelons les parties à s’abstenir d’actions susceptibles d’alimenter les tensions et de porter atteinte à l’intégrité territoriale de l’Ukraine.
Tout doit être fait pour parvenir à une résolution politique de cette crise. A cette fin, nous sommes en concertation étroite avec les autorités ukrainiennes et russes ainsi qu’avec nos principaux partenaires.
Depuis le début de la crise actuelle, la France a œuvré à une solution qui permette la stabilisation de l’Ukraine. Une Ukraine démocratique, respectueuse des droits de toutes les communautés et membre de la grande famille européenne. C’était le sens des efforts de médiation conduits par les Ministres des Affaires étrangères de la République fédérale d’Allemagne, de Pologne et de France. C’était le sens de l’accord du 21 février auquel à l’époque la Fédération de Russie avait d’ailleurs refusé d’apporter son soutien.
Il ne s’agit pas aujourd’hui d’une querelle géopolitique d’une autre époque. Il ne s’agit pas aujourd’hui d’exiger de l’Ukraine que ce pays choisisse entre l’Est et l’Ouest. Ce serait contraire à toutes les valeurs qui ont fondé l’Union Européenne, dont l’existence repose précisément sur le refus de revenir à des pratiques d’un autre âge qui ont conduit notre continent à deux désastres en un siècle.
L’autorisation donnée par le Conseil de la Fédération de Russie de déployer des troupes en Ukraine pourrait se révéler, si elle était suivie d’effets, une menace pour l’intégrité territoriale de ce pays et serait un développement dangereux pour la paix.
Dans la crise ukrainienne, la France s’efforcera de trouver une solution politique qui serve les intérêts du peuple ukrainien et préserve l’intégrité territoriale et la souveraineté du pays. Nous appelons donc toutes les parties à la retenue et à faire preuve de responsabilité. Nous demandons aux autorités ukrainiennes de prendre toutes les mesures nécessaires pour assurer la paix civile, la coexistence entre les communautés, relever le pays et tenir compte des préoccupations de la Fédération de Russie. Nous attendons de tous les voisins de l’Ukraine qu’ils l’aident dans ces tâches difficiles.
La France et l’Union Européenne se tiennent prêtes à contribuer à un règlement pacifique de la crise. Le Président de la République française a appelé à une action rapide et coordonnée de l’Union Européenne, qui sera prise lors du Conseil des Affaires étrangères du 3 mars prochain.
Je vous remercie.
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release March 01, 2014
Readout of President Obama’s calls with President Hollande and Prime Minister Harper
President Obama spoke separately this afternoon with President Hollande of France and Prime Minister Harper of Canada. The leaders agreed that Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected, and expressed their grave concern over Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. The leaders agreed to continue to coordinate closely, including bilaterally, and through appropriate international organizations. The leaders affirmed the importance of unity within the international community in support of international law, and the future of Ukraine and its democracy. The leaders also pledged to work together on a package of support and assistance to help Ukraine as it pursues reforms and stabilizes its economy.
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release March 01, 2014
Readout of President Obama’s Call with President Putin
President Obama spoke for 90 minutes this afternoon with President Putin of Russia about the situation in Ukraine. President Obama expressed his deep concern over Russia’s clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity, which is a breach of international law, including Russia’s obligations under the UN Charter, and of its 1997 military basing agreement with Ukraine, and which is inconsistent with the 1994 Budapest Memorandum and the Helsinki Final Act. The United States condemns Russia’s military intervention into Ukrainian territory.
The United States calls on Russia to de-escalate tensions by withdrawing its forces back to bases in Crimea and to refrain from any interference elsewhere in Ukraine. We have consistently said that we recognize Russia’s deep historic and cultural ties to Ukraine and the need to protect the rights of ethnic Russian and minority populations within Ukraine. The Ukrainian government has made clear its commitment to protect the rights of all Ukrainians and to abide by Ukraine’s international commitments, and we will continue to urge them to do so.
President Obama told President Putin that, if Russia has concerns about the treatment of ethnic Russian and minority populations in Ukraine, the appropriate way to address them is peacefully through direct engagement with the government of Ukraine and through the dispatch of international observers under the auspices of the United Nations Security Council or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). As a member of both organizations, Russia would be able to participate. President Obama urged an immediate effort to initiate a dialogue between Russia and the Ukrainian government, with international facilitation, as appropriate. The United States is prepared to participate.
President Obama made clear that Russia’s continued violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would negatively impact Russia’s standing in the international community. In the coming hours and days, the United States will urgently consult with allies and partners in the UN Security Council, the North Atlantic Council, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and with the signatories of the Budapest Memorandum. The United States will suspend upcoming participation in preparatory meetings for the G-8. Going forward, Russia’s continued violation of international law will lead to greater political and economic isolation.
The people of Ukraine have the right to determine their own future. President Obama has directed his Administration to continue working urgently with international partners to provide support for the Ukrainian government, including urgent technical and financial assistance. Going forward, we will continue consulting closely with allies and partners, the Ukrainian government and the International Monetary Fund, to provide the new government with significant assistance to secure financial stability, to support needed reforms, to allow Ukraine to conduct successful elections, and to support Ukraine as it pursues a democratic future.
Over the last several days, the United States has been responding to events as they unfold in Ukraine. Throughout this crisis, we have been very clear about one fundamental principle: The Ukrainian people deserve the opportunity to determine their own future. Together with our European allies, we have urged an end to the violence and encouraged Ukrainians to pursue a course in which they stabilize their country, forge a broad-based government and move to elections this spring.
I also spoke several days ago with President Putin, and my administration has been in daily communication with Russian officials, and we've made clear that they can be part of an international community’s effort to support the stability and success of a united Ukraine going forward, which is not only in the interest of The people of Ukraine and the international community, but also in Russia’s interest.
However, we are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine. Russia has a historic relationship with Ukraine, including cultural and economic ties, and a military facility in Crimea, but any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing, which is not in the interest of Ukraine, Russia, or Europe.
It would represent a profound interference in matters that must be determined by the Ukrainian people. It would be a clear violation of Russia’s commitment to respect the independence and sovereignty and borders of Ukraine, and of international laws. And just days after the world came to Russia for the Olympic Games, it would invite the condemnation of nations around the world. And indeed, the United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.
The events of the past several months remind us of how difficult democracy can be in a country with deep divisions. But the Ukrainian people have also reminded us that human beings have a universal right to determine their own future.
Right now, the situation remains very fluid. Vice President Biden just spoke with Prime Minister -- the Prime Minister of Ukraine to assure him that in this difficult moment the United States supports his government’s efforts and stands for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and democratic future of Ukraine. I also commend the Ukrainian government’s restraint and its commitment to uphold its international obligations.
We will continue to coordinate closely with our European allies. We will continue to communicate directly with the Russian government. And we will continue to keep all of you in the press corps and the American people informed as events develop.
Thanks very much.
Secretary of State
March 1, 2014
Share on facebookShare on twitter
The United States condemns the Russian Federation's invasion and occupation of Ukrainian territory, and its violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity in full contravention of Russia’s obligations under the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, its 1997 military basing agreement with Ukraine, and the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. This action is a threat to the peace and security of Ukraine, and the wider region.
I spoke with President Turchynov this morning to assure him he had the strong support of the United States and commend the new government for showing the utmost restraint in the face of the clear and present danger to the integrity of their state, and the assaults on their sovereignty. We also urge that the Government of Ukraine continue to make clear, as it has from throughout this crisis, its commitment to protect the rights of all Ukrainians and uphold its international obligations.
As President Obama has said, we call for Russia to withdraw its forces back to bases, refrain from interference elsewhere in Ukraine, and support international mediation to address any legitimate issues regarding the protection of minority rights or security.
From day one, we've made clear that we recognize and respect Russia’s ties to Ukraine and its concerns about treatment of ethnic Russians. But these concerns can and must be addressed in a way that does not violate Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, by directly engaging the Government of Ukraine.
Unless immediate and concrete steps are taken by Russia to deescalate tensions, the effect on U.S.-Russian relations and on Russia’s international standing will be profound.
I convened a call this afternoon with my counterparts from around the world, to coordinate on next steps. We were unified in our assessment and will work closely together to support Ukraine and its people at this historic hour.
In the coming days, emergency consultations will commence in the UN Security Council, the North Atlantic Council, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in defense of the underlying principles critical to the maintenance of international peace and security. We continue to believe in the importance of an international presence from the UN or OSCE to gather facts, monitor for violations or abuses and help protect rights. As a leading member of both organizations, Russia can actively participate and make sure its interests are taken into account.
The people of Ukraine want nothing more than the right to define their own future – peacefully, politically and in stability. They must have the international community’s full support at this vital moment. The United States stands with them, as we have for 22 years, in seeing their rights restored.
Remarks by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at a UN Security Council Meeting on Ukraine
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Nw York, NY
March 1, 2014
Thank you, Madam President. The United States renews our call for the international community to support the newly formed government of Ukraine and to prevent unnecessary violence. I would like to take a moment to respond to the comments made here by the representative of the Russian Federation. Actions speak louder than words. Early this morning, the Russian Duma acted to authorize the use of military force in Ukraine. This is as dangerous as it is destabilizing. We are deeply disturbed by reports this morning of Russian military intervention into Crimea. This intervention is without legal basis-indeed it violates Russia's commitment to protect the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence of Ukraine. It is time for the Russian intervention in Ukraine to end.
The Russian military must stand down; the aspirations of the Ukrainian people must be respected; and political dialogue must be allowed to continue. We applaud the remarkable restraint and commitment to that dialogue that the new Ukrainian government in Kyiv has demonstrated in the face of hostility.
We have said from the outset that we recognize and respect Russia's historical ties to Ukraine. But instead of engaging the government of Ukraine and international institutions about its concerns for ethnic Russians, Russia ignored both and has instead acted unilaterally and militarily.
It is ironic that the Russian Federation regularly goes out of its way in this Chamber to emphasize the sanctity of national borders and of sovereignty, but Russian actions in Ukraine are violating the sovereignty of Ukraine and pose a threat to peace and security.
Russia alleges various actions against and threats to minority groups in Ukraine. We see no evidence of these actions yet, but Russia's provocative actions could easily push a tense situation beyond the breaking point. Russia's incitement of groups to come out to protest is not responsible behavior in the present situation. There is a clear way forward that would preserve Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity, and address Russia's concerns. First, Russia should directly engage the government of Ukraine. Second, international monitors and observers - including from UN and OSCE should be sent to Ukraine. That's the best way to get the facts, monitor conduct, and prevent any abuses. Russia is a leading member of both institutions and can participate actively to ensure that its interests are upheld.
The immediate deployment of international observers from either the OSCE or United Nations to Crimea would also provide transparency about the movement and activities of military and para-military forces in the region and defuse the tensions between different groups. We are also working to stand up an international mediation mission to the Crimea to begin to deescalate the situation, and facilitate productive and peaceful political dialogue among all Ukrainian parties.
Our paramount concerns are to end the confrontation and to find a solution that allows the Ukrainian people to determine their own destiny, their own government, their own future. That must be the goal of this Council and the international community.
The United States will work with Ukraine, our allies and partners in Europe and around the world, and here at the United Nations to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and democratic future of Ukraine.
Remarks by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at a Security Council Stakeout on Ukraine
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
New York, NY
February 28, 2014
Good afternoon everybody. We’ve just come from an emergency meeting and consultations of the Security Council on Ukraine.
It is important that the Council came together today on this subject because this is a critical moment for the future of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. The United States stands with the Ukrainian people in determining their own destiny, their own government, their own future. We are gravely disturbed by reports of Russian military deployments into the Crimea. The United States calls upon Russia to pull back the military forces that are being built up in the region, to stand down, and to allow the Ukrainian people the opportunity to pursue their own government, create their own destiny and to do so freely without intimidation or fear. We call upon all states to respect the sovereignty of Ukraine. As various political actors begin making decisions about what role they will play in shaping that future, the international community has an opportunity and a responsibility to stand firmly with the people of Ukraine and, in doing so, to prevent unnecessary violence. Given the present turbulence, it is useful for the Council to reiterate certain principles, including the unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine, the need for peaceful dialogue and the prevention of further violence, and the fact that Ukraine’s future can only be determined by the Ukrainian people.
In recent days, the world has borne witness to the overwhelming support that Ukraine’s new government has received from all major parties within the country. At the same time, we recognize that this newly formed government will require international assistance as it tries to correct the economic failures and political inequities of the past administration. A key to doing this, and to Ukraine’s stability and economic security, depends on it having healthy relations with all of its neighbors, including Russia and the European Union.
The United States stands with the Ukrainian people at this remarkable moment and welcomes the formation of the new government; we are pleased that the cabinet is both inclusive and representative and we congratulate the members of the Rada and the Ukrainian people on their historic achievement.
The new government needs to continue its outreach to minority groups in order to help calm the situation and affirm its commitment to protecting minority rights. Clearly this is a message that needs especially to be heard in the Crimea, where we have seen actions and heard rhetoric that could threaten Ukraine’s unity and stability. To underline this point, let me be clear that the United States would condemn any move to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty or territorial integrity, which we expect all states to respect. The best way for the people of Crimea to achieve their goals is to work peacefully within the established political system. To this end, the United States calls for an urgent international mediation mission to the Crimea to begin to deescalate the situation, and facilitate productive and peaceful political dialogue among all Ukrainian parties.
We encourage all Ukrainians to pursue their aspirations through peaceful dialogue and nonviolent political activity in combination [with] the new government’s efforts – with appropriate international assistance -- to bring about economic recovery and renewed hope for the future.
Thank you and I’d be happy to take a couple questions.
Reporter: So, who should be involved in this international mediation mission? And has the US communicated directly to Russia its concerns about - that it’s gravely disturbed by this report and that it wants Russia will pull back?
Ambassador Power: First, let me say that the President of the United States will be speaking on the issue of Ukraine later today. So you’ll hear directly from him. In terms of the mediation mission that we think is urgently needed, I think what’s important is that it be seen as independent, credible. Obviously the Secretary General has dispatched an envoy, Robert Serry, to Ukraine. He remains in Ukraine; he’s a former ambassador to Ukraine, as many of you know. The OSCE has historic connections, obviously, to many, many parts of Ukraine and to the Ukrainian people. What we think is important, again, is that there is a mission at a time when the crisis seems to be escalating rather than deescalating. And we think that mission be carried in service of the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and unity of Ukraine.
Reporter: Can I ask you how you would describe the Russian military movements in Crimea? Do these count as an act of aggression?
Ambassador Power: I’m not going to characterize the movements – again, you’ll be hearing from the president of the United States shortly – beyond to reiterate the point I’ve already made, which is that we are deeply concerned by these reports, deeply concerned by what we see as facts on the ground. And we urge Russia to join us in helping Ukraine get on – back on a path to a brighter future.
Daily Press Briefing
QUESTION: Okay. Ukraine?
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: All right. So other than Secretary Kerry’s call to Foreign Minister Lavrov, have there been any other Ukraine-related conversations at senior level – not – aside from the Vice President’s call last night to the new prime minister? Has the Secretary spoken to any Ukrainian officials himself, or is he taking – basically going to deal with the Russians on this one?
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any additional calls to read out for you beyond his call with Foreign Minister Lavrov, which he spoke about this morning, and the call that Vice President Biden had with the interim Ukrainian prime minister. But this, of course, is an issue that is being closely watched and looked at and discussed internally in the Administration.
QUESTION: Okay. And then just to – I want to make sure that I’m accurate on this. Is it – the Secretary has spoken to Lavrov now today, yesterday – did he – about – specifically about Ukraine --
MS. PSAKI: Correct.
QUESTION: -- and about what Russia may or may not be doing there. Are those the only two calls that he’s had on this, I mean this week, in terms of post-Yanukovych fleeing?
MS. PSAKI: Those are the two calls he’s had this week, yes.
QUESTION: Okay. He hasn’t spoken with Lavrov another time since --
MS. PSAKI: He spoke with him also on Sunday, which I think you were aware of because we did a readout of that, and Saturday. Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: So he’s spoken to him four times in six days?
MS. PSAKI: That’s right. And let me just add that in addition to speaking about Ukraine, which they – he talked about this morning at the press avail, they also talked about Syria and they talked about Middle East peace, given the recent visit of President Abbas.
QUESTION: Sorry. Today?
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: They talked about Syria and Middle East peace?
MS. PSAKI: Yes, mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Why so many calls on this subject? Is this the level of the concern that you’re feeling within this Administration that Moscow could have a – could try to have a heavy hand in what’s going on in Ukraine?
MS. PSAKI: Well, this is an issue we’re clearly very closely engaged with. He – Secretary Kerry called Foreign Minister Lavrov this morning to discuss reports of Russian military activities in Crimea, and he stressed, as he mentioned this morning, that the United States has concerns that all parties avoid any steps that could inflame tensions. And he made very clear during that call that any intervention in Ukraine would be a grave mistake.
So this is an issue that not only are we all talking about in here every day, given, of course, its prevalence in the news, but it’s an issue the United States Government is watching closely. We’re certainly concerned about the reports. Our focus remains on encouraging Ukraine to take positive steps forward regarding economic reforms, regarding elections. But also, we’re closely watching what’s happening on the ground.
QUESTION: So talking about reports – sorry. Do you have any independent confirmation yourselves within the Administration that there is yet any Russian intervention in Moscow? It’s a little confusing about what’s actually --
QUESTION: In Moscow?
QUESTION: Sorry, in Crimea.
MS. PSAKI: Sure.
QUESTION: Excuse me. Thank you. It’s a little confusing to work out exactly what seems to be happening on the ground.
MS. PSAKI: Sure.
QUESTION: Do you have more details?
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have anything – any more details to share with you. We’re concerned about the same reports that you have seen, and obviously, we’re closely watching this internally as well.
QUESTION: So nothing – no independent knowledge of any Russian intervention in Crimea?
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any independent information to share with you.
QUESTION: Okay. And I just wanted to ask – sorry, on --
QUESTION: On Ukraine?
MS. PSAKI: Oh, go ahead.
QUESTION: Still on Ukraine.
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: -- still on Ukraine, whether you’d seen the press conference by Viktor Yanukovych and what your reaction was to his contention that he remains president of Ukraine.
MS. PSAKI: Sure. Well, we certainly saw the reports. We are in the same place we have been in, which is that we don’t – we believe that Yanukovych has lost his legitimacy as he abdicated his responsibilities. As you know, he left Ukraine – or left Kyiv, and he has left a vacuum of leadership. So we continue to believe that he’s lost legitimacy and our focus remains on the path forward.
QUESTION: The Secretary, in his comments, said that Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov had assured him that the United – that Russia had not and had no intention of violating Ukraine’s sovereignty.
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: His next sentence began, “Nevertheless, I made the following points to him.”
MS. PSAKI: Sure.
QUESTION: Do you doubt Foreign Minister Lavrov’s statement?
MS. PSAKI: Well, Arshad, I think the Secretary said yesterday during his avail that, of course, we take the Russians for what they’re conveying. But in an almost any conflict or international event you also want to verify words with actions, and so we’re watching closely to ensure that their actions back up their words.
QUESTION: Well, do you believe – when he started out, he acknowledged that there is a basing agreement between the governments of Ukraine and Russia that gives the Russians certain rights of access.
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Do you believe that what has been reported thus far, including the alleged transit of 10 Russian military helicopters, the surrounding of a border post by Russian – a Ukrainian border post by Russian soldiers – do you believe that those might fall within Russia’s rights under that agreement? Is that conceivable? It may be. I don’t know. I’m asking you.
MS. PSAKI: Sure. Look, I’m not in a position to give an analysis of that. But clearly, some of the reporting on all of those issues you mentioned is of concern, and that’s why we’re looking at it closely and discussing what it does mean. We know there’s a base there. But obviously, some – the question is whether these activities have extended beyond, as the Secretary said this morning.
QUESTION: So that would imply, then, that you don’t think to date Russia has violated its nonintervention promise.
MS. PSAKI: I’m just not giving an analysis of that. Obviously, we’re looking at it --
MS. PSAKI: -- and if we weren’t – if we didn’t have concerns about that question --
QUESTION: I understand.
MS. PSAKI: -- we wouldn’t be looking at it.
QUESTION: But you’re looking at it to determine if they have, or you – or they might – they have already, or that you’re looking at it in terms of what they do in the future?
MS. PSAKI: Well, both. We’re --
QUESTION: In other – okay.
MS. PSAKI: There have been reports. I don’t have any --
QUESTION: So you have not yet made a determination, then, on whether what happened – was reported to have happened today violates their promise?
MS. PSAKI: Well, I don’t want to be too cute here. But obviously, there are ongoing discussions. We have seen reports. I don’t have any independent confirmation of all of those reports to share with you.
MS. PSAKI: So we’re looking at it. But it means we’re looking at, of course, the last 24 hours, but also events in the future, which is what the Secretary conveyed to the foreign minister today.
QUESTION: Okay. And then you said in one of your answers, I think to Arshad, that in any international crisis or international event it’s important that actions back up words, right?
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: So in that line, when U.S. officials like the Secretary, like Ambassador Rice, yourself, your colleague at the White House, say that it would be a grave mistake for Russia to – for any – for Russia to intervene, what does that mean, really? I mean, other than calling it a grave mistake and a bad thing, what kind of consequence, if any, does it draw?
MS. PSAKI: Well, I’m not going to outline was consequences would be. Obviously, I think the international community would look closely at any intervention by the Russians or anyone else. But I’m not going to stand here and outline consequences from the podium.
QUESTION: Okay. What does that mean, “the international community would look closely at”?
MS. PSAKI: Would not look --
QUESTION: If you’re trying to warn the Russians away from doing something --
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: -- that you think would be bad, and the best you can say as --
MS. PSAKI: Well, I think the --
QUESTION: -- that if they do it, as a consequence, that the international community is going to look closely at it.
MS. PSAKI: Matt, the Secretary said two days ago that there would be consequences. But again --
MS. PSAKI: -- that’s obviously not our goal or our preferred path, so --
QUESTION: Okay. Well, fair enough.
MS. PSAKI: -- we’re trying to work in a different direction.
QUESTION: Do you believe that there could be – that you could get – when you say the international community, I’m presuming you’re meaning the United Nations, but you do realize that any attempt to punish Russia at the UN Security Council is not going anywhere, right?
MS. PSAKI: I understand what you’re saying, Matt. But again, I’m not going to go too much farther than to say that obviously there are a number of countries who are watching closely what happens in Ukraine, who feel strongly that territorial integrity is an important component we need to preserve moving forward.
QUESTION: And do you include Russia in that?
MS. PSAKI: Well, they have stated that, so let’s see if their actions back that up.
Did you have another --
MS. PSAKI: Sure.
QUESTION: On Ukraine.
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: I don’t know if you will have seen this, because I think it’s just come out --
MS. PSAKI: Sure.
QUESTION: -- but Ukraine has filed an extradition – a request for the extradition of Yanukovych from Russia. Do you have any comment on that?
MS. PSAKI: I have not seen it, but I think it’s unlikely we would have a specific comment on that.
QUESTION: And are you aware of plans to hold a closed-door Security Council meeting to discuss Ukraine today?
MS. PSAKI: We don’t, obviously, confirm or discuss internal meetings that are happening --
QUESTION: How is that internal if it’s between the five permanent members of the UN Security Council?
MS. PSAKI: Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you were asking about an internal National --
QUESTION: No, Security Council – not a National Security; the UN Security Council.
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any details on that. I would point you to the UN. I can check and see if that’s something they’ve announced.
QUESTION: Could you tell us on the --
QUESTION: Do you know, though, if you support that?
MS. PSAKI: If we supported --
QUESTION: Well, the Ukrainians asked for there to be a meeting.
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Do you know if the United States was in favor of having this meeting at the UN?
MS. PSAKI: I’d point you to our mission in New York on that.
QUESTION: Could you clarify to us the legal aspects of this thing? Do you recognize the current Government of Ukraine? Did you do that?
MS. PSAKI: We don’t recognize governments, as you know. Obviously, our focus --
QUESTION: Are you – who do you --
MS. PSAKI: Let me answer your question, Said.
MS. PSAKI: We don’t recognize governments. Our – as I just said earlier, the fact that Yanukovych left Kyiv, he left --
MS. PSAKI: -- his people with a leadership void, in our view means he’s lost his legitimacy. So I – beyond that, our focus here is on working with the interim government. They’re going to hold elections. They called for elections in May. And we’re focused on the path forward.
QUESTION: So the implicit or even the explicit in what you say, that by losing his legitimacy, you recognize the current government as the legitimate government --
MS. PSAKI: Again, we --
QUESTION: -- and therefore, you might support --
MS. PSAKI: We don’t recognize governments. We are working with a range of officials and leaders in Ukraine.
QUESTION: And just quickly going back to the question that --
MS. PSAKI: Sure.
QUESTION: -- Matt posed about the grave consequences and so on, also in the undertone in what the Secretary said the other day, is he basically saying that Russia is vulnerable to that kind of a situation as well?
MS. PSAKI: I’m not going to go farther than I’ve gone or the Secretary has gone.
QUESTION: Okay. And finally --
MS. PSAKI: Do we have any more on Ukraine?
QUESTION: -- on the Crimean airport situation --
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: -- you have no information on who’s really controlling the --
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any more details for you.
MS. PSAKI: Sure, go ahead.
QUESTION: The former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul --
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: -- apparently couldn’t wait to start commenting on affairs as a private citizen, and he described himself as highly concerned by what’s going on, and he said that the Russians refer to what’s going on in Ukraine as the Ukraine virus, and they fear that it will spread to Russia. Do you share that view?
MS. PSAKI: Well, I’m not going to comment on the comments of a private citizen, Arshad, but I will say, broadly speaking, every country we view differently. Every country has unique circumstances. Obviously, the people of Ukraine have spoken and have called for a path forward, and that’s what we’re supporting.
Ukraine? Any more on Ukraine? Okay.
QUESTION: You mentioned the context of the Secretary talk with Lavrov, the touch with – to be in touch with Russia.
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: In the same time, you said you are working with the interim government.
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Another partner of this process – I assume it’s EU – what kind of contacts you have with EU?
MS. PSAKI: With the EU about Ukraine?
MS. PSAKI: Very close contacts. I think that the EU has announced plans for EU High Representative Ashton to head to Ukraine sometime next week. Obviously, we’re closely engaged on the ground. We have officials engaged, I think it’s fair to say, with the EU probably every day on these issues, and we’re closely coordinating with them on everything from economic assistance to calls to encourage a reduction in violence and tensions.
QUESTION: Are there any plans for Assistant Secretary Nuland to go back to Kyiv in the coming days?
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any plans to announce for you. Obviously, I think everybody’s looking at what the next appropriate steps might be.
Speaking this afternoon Saturday 1 March, Foreign Secretary William Hague said:
I am deeply concerned at the escalation of tensions in Ukraine, and the decision of the Russian parliament to authorise military action on Ukrainian soil against the wishes of the Ukrainian government. This action is a potentially grave threat to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine. We condemn any act of aggression against Ukraine.
I spoke today to Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov to urge steps to calm this dangerous situation. I told Minister Lavrov that Britain supports the Ukrainian government’s request for urgent consultations in accordance with the 1994 Budapest Memorandum signed by the UK, US, Russia and Ukraine. In the light of President Putin’s request to the Federation Council, we have now summoned the Russian Ambassador to the Foreign Office to register our deep concerns.
I also spoke this afternoon to German Foreign Minister Steinmeier where we agreed on the need for international diplomatic action to address the crisis. The UK supports the proposed emergency meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, and we have already called an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council for this afternoon in New York.
Yesterday I spoke to Ukrainian Acting President Turchynov and made clear the UK’s support for Ukraine’s new government. I urged him to ensure that the government takes measures which unify the country, and that it protects the rights of all Ukraine’s citizens, including those from minority groups, in a spirit of inclusiveness. And I assured him of the UK’s commitment to working with other international partners and institutions to ensure that reforms by Ukraine are matched by international willingness to provide economic support.
I will visit Ukraine on Sunday to discuss these issues directly with the Ukrainian government. I will reiterate the UK’s support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine. I will also discuss how the UK can support the Ukrainian government in recovering improperly acquired assets. The EU must agree urgently an asset freezing regime to target those suspected of laundering the proceeds of corruption. On my instructions, the British Embassy in Kiev has told the Ukrainian government that we stand ready to provide Ukraine with technical advice on asset recovery.