China / Politics

Ambassador A. Denisov weighs in on Crimea referendum

By Ren Qi ( Updated: 2014-03-07 22:25

In an interview with China Daily, Russian Ambassador to China Andrei Denisov elaborats his views on Ukraine crisis and the upcoming Crimea referendum.

1. What is the Russian government’s position on the current situation in Crimea?

Russia is extremely concerned about the latest developments in Ukraine and Crimea. As President Putin said during his press conference this Tuesday Russia’s position on the situation in Ukraine and Crimea is consistent. Russia is interested in a stable and powerful Ukraine, where the legal rights and interests of the Ukrainians, our compatriots and all nationals are enforced.

Measures that are being undertaken by Russia are adequate and absolutely legitimate in the given extraordinary conditions, when the life and security of the residents of Crimea and the south-eastern regions are in real danger because of the irresponsible and provocative actions of ultranationalist elements. We advocate faster pacification of the situation in Ukraine. Russia calls for the fulfillment of the 21 February agreement, sponsored and guaranteed by our western partners. That would mean the formation of a legitimate national unity government considering the interests of all political forces and regions of the country.

There have been many speculations, groundlessly claiming that Russian military forces have something to do with the current crisis in Crimea. We assure you that so far there was not a single armed conflict, not a single gunshot. Moreover, we express our sincere hope that there would not be any violence. The tension in Crimea that was linked to the possibility of using our armed forces eased as there was no need to use them. Russia only took additional vigilance measures to safeguard our military deployment sites because of numerous threats and information of the armed nationalists moving towards Crimea. Claims that Russia has forcefully seized the peninsula are nonsense and have nothing to do with the real situation on the ground.

Russian officials have repeatedly stressed that armed forces could be used, but that measure would certainly be the very last resort. The formations (what does he mean by “formations” - should this actually be “movement” ?) of the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea do not get involved in Ukrainian internal political events. All the movements of these units are to pursue the goal of ensuring the security of the fleet’s sites and the prevention of extremist and radical attacks on our nationals.

2. Crimea is going to hold a referendum soon, what is your view on that?

We believe that the current situation in Crimea is a direct consequence of careless actions by new Ukrainian authorities, which, in our perspective, are not fully legitimate. These so-called new “authorities” trampled on the agreement of the 21 February, ignored the atrocities of the militants in Kiev, provoked violent Russophobia and anti-Semitism. Some representatives of the new Kiev regime have actually announced a war against the Russian language and everything associated with Russia, even the Cyrillic alphabet.

We are seriously concerned about the cancellation of the Law on the Foundations of the State Language Policy in violation of Ukraine’s international obligations, which leads to further deprivation of the rights of minorities, restriction of the freedom of the mass media and bans on the activities of individual political parties.

Militants have not yet laid down arms, they have not freed administrative buildings or announced their intention to “make order” in all the Ukrainian regions. These actions have significantly destabilised the east and southeast of Ukraine.

As a response to that, in order to prevent applying the Kiev scenario in Crimea, local residents (mostly Russian speaking people) chose to act and fight chaos coming to their hometowns. Russia does not intend to interfere. However, we firmly believe that all citizens of Ukraine, regardless of their nationality, native tongue, place of residence, should be given the same equal right to participate in the life of their country and in determining its future.

3. What could you say about Russia-China relations and cooperation between the two countries on regional and international levels?

Our bilateral relations with China have been on the incline. Despite the fact that they have always been very good, recently we can see a new drive of significant development. Today we may speak of “new heights” of our cooperation in all fields.

Our political contacts are developing – we have five summit meetings planned for this year. Our security services are cooperating, as well as our military, including those engaged in removing chemical weapons from Syria.

Indeed, leaders of our countries have discussed the current crisis in Ukraine, and we are very glad that leaders of our countries have similar views on this issue. Russia and China are making a significant contribution to international development and security. We hope that closeness of our positions on Ukraine would become an important factor of stability in the region.

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