UK Tells Russia: Don’t Intervene in Ukraine, Let Economy Heal
London – Britain warned Russia on Sunday against intervening in Ukraine’s “complex” crisis, saying London wanted to contribute to an international economic program aimed at shoring up the “desperately difficult” situation of the Ukrainian economy. In comments that may anger Moscow, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said his government was in regular contact with the Russian government to try to persuade it that closer ties between Ukraine and the European Union should not worry it.
“If there’s an economic package, it will be important that Russia doesn’t do anything to undermine that economic package and is working in cooperation and support of it,” Hague told BBC TV. When asked if he was worried that Russia might “send in the tanks” to defend the interests of Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine, Hague warned against what he called “external duress” or Russian intervention.
“It would really not be in the interests of Russia to do any such thing. We have to keep up the communication with Russia as we are doing … so that the people of Ukraine can choose their own way forward. There are many dangers and uncertainties.” Ukraine’s parliament voted to remove President Viktor Yanukovich on Saturday after three months of street protests, while his arch-rival YuliaTymoshenko hailed opposition demonstrators as “heroes” in an emotional speech in Kiev after she was released from jail.
The crisis began as protests against Yanukovich’s decision to abandon a trade agreement with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia, which promised to lend Ukraine $15 billion. Ukraine needs the money — foreign investment inflows fell by almost half last year, to a net $2.86 billion from $4.13 billion in 2012. (Reuters)