Russia's next move after Crimea key concern

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

As Crimea is now part of Russia, attention is shifted to whether Russia will seek to claim other parts of Ukraine

As Crimea is now part of Russia, attention is shifted to whether Russia will seek to claim other parts of Ukraine

ANKARA - On the heels of Russia's annexation of Crimea and sanctions against Russia by the U.S. and the European Union, attention has now shifted to whether Russia will seek to claim other parts of Ukraine. 

"It is difficult to understand what Russian President Vladimir Putin thinks," said Ukraine's Ambassador to Turkey, Sergiy Korsunsky, at a conference held at an Ankara-based think tank on Wednesday. 

"There was not a single case of violation of rights of Russian speaking people in Crimea, in other parts of Ukraine or violation of interests of Russia."

However, Russia says it protects the rights of the Russian-speaking population in Crimea.

"We are all trying to understand what the reason is. Maybe there is a plan to continue to protect pro-Russians in eastern and southern part of Ukraine and to reach Trans-Dniester," Korsunsky said, referring to the separatist region of Moldova that has already asked to join Russia.

Responding to a question whether Russia is trying to create a north Black Sea corridor by annexing Crimea and possible future moves towards Trans-Dniester, Polish ambassador to Turkey, Mieczyslaw Cieniuch, said, "from the Russian point of view it sounds good." 

But German ambassador to Turkey, Eberhard Pohl, and acting head of Delegation of the EU to Turkey, Bela Szombati, did not want to comment.

On a question if the EU sanctions were enough to stop Russian aggression, German Ambassador Pohl said the EU was acting decisively enough.

"It is the first for the EU to take measures against Russia. It sends a clear signal to stop the red line, and it also sends a clear signal to with regards to our concerns and possible future destabilization of Ukraine or maybe Moldova," he added. 

EU's delegation to Turkey Szombati said, "The EU's reaction is adequate."

"If there are further steps from Russia to destabilize the situation in Ukraine, everything that needs to be there is there... We have been trying as much as we can to influence Russia's decision and thinking and to bring them back on track," he added.  

When asked about a possible military intervention, the Ukrainian ambassador said, "If a war were to break out, the disaster will completely destroy the Black Sea Region. We are trying to work with Russia to stabilize the situation."

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