Ukraine ready to sign EU association agreement amid ongoing tensions in Crimea
Friday, February 28, 2014
KIEV, Ukraine – Ukraine is ready to sign the association agreement with the EU that was previously shelved by former President Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine`s newly-appointed Foreign Minister Andry Deshchytsya said Friday.
Deshchytsya also claimed that Russia’s navy in the Black Sea is violating the rules of deployment and said Ukraine will send a diplomatic note to Russia about this.
On Friday, more than 10 Russian military helicopters flew into Ukraine`s airspace for military exercises, violating a contract with Ukraine that allowed for only three Russian aircrafts to enter, according to Ukraine`s border guard.
They also said Russian troops were blocking off a unit of Ukrainian border guards in the port city of Sevastopol, where part of Russia`s Black Sea fleet is based.
Meanwhile, nine Russian tanks and two buses carrying Russian soldiers were seen at the Simferopol-Sevastopol road in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, which Anadolu Agency`s reporter says is now under the control of a camouflage-wearing, unidentified pro-Russian group.
Armed men seized Crimea`s parliament building in the capital Simferopol on Thursday. The region, which has a significant Russian minority and is under Russia’s influence, has been the second center of tension in Ukraine after the locus of protests in the capital Kiev.
Crimea’s Parliament dissolved its government and announced it will hold a referendum on May 25 to decide on its future as part of Ukraine.
Ukraine`s Parliament on Friday called on the United States, United Kingdom and Russia to abide by the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, which guarantees Ukraine`s territorial integrity, amid concerns of a conflict with Russia in Crimea.
The decision to call on Russia to end all actions that would harm Ukrainian sovereignty was backed by 230 members of parliament. The motion guaranteed all rights of Russian minorities in Ukraine including language.
- Ukraine’s Turkey envoy says Crimea events are provocations
Ukraine`s Ambassador to Turkey Sergey Korsunsky said the calming of political tensions in Ukraine would mean the country`s newly formed government could deal with the Crimean Parliament`s decision to call for an independence referendum.
"It is important to investigate the course of events," Korsunsky told a press conference on Friday, referring to the seizure of the airport in Simferopol by 50 armed men on Friday.
- EU calls for political solution in Crimea
The European Commission has urged Ukraine’s neighbors to participate in finding a political solution to the tension in Crimea on Friday.
“The situation in Crimea will require a political solution and this can only be achieved via dialogue amongst the different parties involved,” said the commission’s spokesperson Oliver Baily.
In a phone conversation with Russia`s President Vladimir Putin Friday, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron emphasized that all countries should respect Ukraine`s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Poland`s Senate`s speaker Bogdan Borusewicz said Poland’s government is concerned about the seizure of official buildings in Crimea by armed men.
“Russia’s intervention may cause the division of Ukraine,” said Borusewicz, adding that such an event should be avoided.
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