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Opening statement by Prime Minister of Ukraine Arsenii Yatseniuk during the Government's session on March 1, 2014
01.03.2014 | 15:06

We have today a serious agenda of the session of the Government.

But Id like to start from the most important issue for today that concerns Ukraine, concerns the Ukrainians in the West, in the East and in the Crimea first of all. This is an issue that has become the object of attention of the whole international community. It comes about the situation in Crimea and the attempts of destabilization, which are taking place in Crimea.

We consider that there is an inadequate presence of the Russian forces in the autonomy. This is nothing but a violation of the basic requirements of the Agreement on the temporary stationing of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine.

Separately, I ask the Minister of Defence after my report and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine to inform on the state of implementation of the Agreement and of those violations that Russia has committed in the performance of this Agreement.

Respected members of the Cabinet of Ministers, I had serious talks with U.S. Vice President, President of the European Commission Mr Barroso, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and number of foreign ministers from the European Union yesterday. The position of our partner countries is very clear: all made tough statements on the territorial integrity of Ukraine and nobody is allowed to interfere in the internal affairs of Ukraine abusing their rights through the Agreement on the temporary stationing of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in the autonomy.

Yesterday, after we had actually all night talks with our Western partners, the meeting of the UN Security Council was held. U.S. broached the issue at the UN Security Council and the UN Security Council adopted two decisions. The first is the introduction of a monitoring group; the second is the establishment of an instant consultation mechanism.

The world is watching what is happening, and the world has expressed the support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Ukrainian state.

The behavior of our Government is as follows. We consider that inadequate Russian presence in Crimea is nothing but a provocation. And Russian Federations attempts so that Ukraine reacted the same way by force have been failed. We are well aware that there was a plan to create a new Ossetia in Ukraine i.e. victims, bloodshed, war and civil conflict.

Thats way the reaction of Ukraine and Ukrainian government was clear: we refuse to respond to provocation, we do not use the force, we demand from the Government of the Russian Federation, the Russian leadership to immediately withdraw its troops and return them to their home stations.

Otherwise, any force confrontation, which may be caused by the radicals that are actually supported by the Russian military forces, responsibility for the force confrontation will be felt on the Russian Federation and personally on the leadership of the RF that have given an order to increase military presence on the territory of Ukraine. It is unacceptable when across the Ukrainian lands, on the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, in the center of the city Russian military forces are walking with weapons.

That is why I stress again - rotate all Russian troops in places of permanent deployment immediately! Russian partners, stop to provoke civic and military confrontation and act in accordance with Ukrainian-Russian agreements!

Also I had talks with representatives of Crimean Tatar people. I address to all the Crimeans: please, I beg of you to calm down, refuse the provocation. Ukraine will do everything to ensure that we will be a united state. Ukraine will do everything to protect the rights of all minorities. And all the discussion that Crimea allegedly would be captured by someone is a lie and it is another attempt to provoke conflict. I am very grateful to the representatives of the Crimean Tatar people for the order that they maintain. Once again I address to all the inhabitants of the Crimea: We are together and we must save this unity.

As for the Crimean Government, we want to make it clear statement that the new government of Crimea should be formed transparently, legally, taking into the account interests of all residents of the Crimea.

We should also openly say that this excessive and inadequate presence of Russian military forces in Crimea is nothing else, but a direct attack on the Crimeans. The reputation of the Crimea as one of the best resorts has been damaged. If, in three weeks, Russia will continue to allow their military forces to walk with guns across the territory of the autonomy, our answer is: a one part of the plan is to damage the holiday season in Crimea so that no one will go to the region neither from Russia, Europe, no from Belarus. We realize that after Sochi Olympics, which worth 48 billion dollars to Russian Federation hotels and resorts in Sochi will be empty.

So you can see the attempt to deprive Crimeans workplaces, wages, tourists, to damage the resort, as it was in Abkhazia, when no one visited Abkhazia for 6 years, to damage economic development of Crimea so that to transfer all tourist flows to Sochi after the Olympic games.

Yesterday late evening we have also together with the National Bank of Ukraine and the State Treasury Service restored provision of Crimea with financial recourses. We havent had any connection for some time. Undetermined persons cut connection system of Ukrtelekom and we via reserve channels could restore as banks payments as well as settlements in the system of the State Treasury Service. The Government will perform its obligations to all citizens of Ukraine; we will not leave the Crimeans under any circumstances.

We also provided support to the banking sector, which is geographically located in the Crimea. About UAH 400 million was sent to refinance to support bunks in Crimea. So, we have a clear plan. We control the situation.

We again address to the leadership of the Russian Federation: to withdraw forces immediately without provoking civic conflict, to accept the implementation of bilateral and multilateral agreements, and by peaceful and political means to resolve the crisis in the Crimea provoked by inadequate Russian presence in Crimea.

Now Id like to ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Defence to inform us primarily on implementation of agreements, on what additional activities are being carried out by Ministries under your jurisdiction, and on our next steps.

Separately, Id like to note that a number of draft resolutions requiring urgent adoption are on the todays agenda of the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers. First of all these are regulations on fiscal austerity and implementation of the most stringent regime regarding spending of state and local budgets and transparency in the performance of the state budget.

There are also, a number of bills to be taken in the Parliament of Ukraine, especially the Law on Restoration of confidence in the judicial system. It comes about the actual implementation of the new standards in the judicial system: re-assessment of judges, examination of judges in terms of making their decisions not by telephone law, but in accordance with the law and the Constitution and the Bill requires the immediate adoption in the Parliament.

The Government will also today make a decision on the liquidation of the Ministry of Incomes and Fees and return of the tax and customs systems in the legal field and the destruction of one of the most corrupt enclaves that existed under the previous government.

Also today, we will approve a government decision "On celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Taras Shevchenko" and other acts of the Parliament, which must be passed, and regulation of the Cabinet of Ministers.

I would like to stress again that the crisis in Crimea provoked by the inadequate and excessive presence of Russian forces on the Ukrainian territory, in Crimea is settled by political and diplomatic means. I note again that the responsibility for the escalation of conflict, if the Russian Government doesnt withdraws troops immediately and not return them to their places of permanent deployment, will be felt on the Russian Federation side.

We, as the Government of Ukraine do not any steps that would provoke confrontation. And we warn anyone as in Ukraine as well as in Crimea from military confrontation. It must be only peaceful means.

We have passed a horrible, dramatic events a few weeks ago, which hundreds of people were killed by the regime, and that is why the new Ukrainian government will take care of everyone's life will ensure the territorial integrity, sovereignty and no one will allow to tear off chunks of Ukrainian territory.

Separately Id also like to address the Council of Churches. We ask for the support of the clergy, no matter to what church you go - whether Kyiv Patriarchate, Moscow Patriarchate or is Greek or a Roman Catholic, you are Christians or Muslims or Jews. We all - the united country and the Ukrainian government will do everything in order religious rights of every citizen of the state will be respected.

I also address to the relevant ministry: to develop a new version of the Law of Ukraine "On Language" immediately and without delay that provides guarantees to all national minorities to use their language with regard to Article 10 of the Constitution, which states that the official language in Ukraine is Ukrainian language and Russian and other languages are protected by law and the Constitution, to never give opportunities to speculate on these matters, to sow division and discord in our country. We have a very difficult time, and we will be able to overcome these times when we are united, cohesive and wise.


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