Three former presidents of Ukraine have called on the government to terminate the Kharkiv agreements on the presence of the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, signed by Dmitriy Medvedev and Viktor Yanukovych in 2010. A joint statement to this effect by Leonid Kravchuk, Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko was provided to Ukrainska Pravda on Saturday evening.
They note that “for the first time in recent history, the Ukrainian people are facing a crisis that threatens the unity, sovereignty and independence of our country and that can escalate into a national catastrophe that threatens to destroy Ukraine.”
The former presidents believe that “the people of Ukraine and Russia are being pushed artificially towards a fratricidal war.”
“Time is running out fast. Ukraine, which is struggling to make its way out of a political crisis, is now on the brink of a conflict which bears all the signs of military aggression,” said the statement.
Kuchma, Kravchuk and Yushchenko believe that Russia, “taking advantage of internal political difficulties in Ukraine, has decided to play the so-called Crimean card in its favour, ignoring its obligations to Ukraine.”
“Crimea is a territory of Ukraine. This is axiomatic for every Ukrainian citizen, for any Ukrainian politician. Speculations on this subject and attacks on Ukrainian territory are unacceptable,” the presidents insist.
They have appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin, asking him to “assess, without political bias, the internal political developments in Ukraine, recognize [its] right to self-determination and the inviolability of its borders, and respect the sovereignty of Ukraine.”
The presidents also appealed to the Federal Assembly of the Russian State Duma: “Take a step back. Revoke the decision on armed intervention, which could turn Ukrainians and Russians into enemies.”
Kuchma, Kravchuk and Yushchenko appealed to the Ukrainian authorities: “In making any sort of decision, please consider the historical characteristics of the regions in Ukraine, listen carefully to the east, west, south, and north. Do not be hasty in your consideration of issues that could aggravate tension in society.”
They also urged the Security Service of Ukraine and the Prosecutor General of Ukraine to “respond immediately to any threats to split Ukraine [and] to exercise balance and endurance.”
“An appropriate response by Ukrainian law enforcement authorities and the top political leadership can still stop the emergence of this ‘hot spot’ in Europe,” the statement said.
The presidents also asked that there be no division of Ukrainians into “ours and theirs”, no “totalitarian lustration” and no attempt to substitute political expediency for law.
“We all need to understand that there’s only one way out of the crisis: on the basis of agreed positions, understanding, and mutual respect,” the joint statement said.
“We appeal to the Parliament of Ukraine to immediately hold a session. To announce a mobilization and to be ready to defend our lands. Parliament must denounced the Kharkiv agreements. The Ukrainian government must [also] seek a decision on an immediate signing of the Association Agreement with the European Union,” the president declared.
They call on Russia to “take into account the will of all Ukrainian people, not just part of them”, to “give [Ukraine] the opportunity to solve its own problems” and to “not make any attempts to ‘help’ us through armed intervention.”
“It is quite clear that Ukraine will protect its territorial integrity. And this conflict between fraternal nations could end up becoming a dramatic chapter in our history. The authors of this conflict will be judged appropriately by Ukrainian and Russian people and by international community.”
The presidents urged the EU “to position itself as effectively as possible vis-a-vis Ukraine.” “Now, while it’s still possible for diplomats to speak louder than guns, the EU must urgently send to Ukraine a permanent mission of influential negotiators and observers to resolve the potential conflict in Ukraine,” the former presidents said.
“We also appeal to the international community, the United States, the United Kingdom, [and] the European Union, which, in its time, provided Ukraine with security guarantees, with a request that they keep their word,” the statement said. “What we need now is your support, your help, and your active participation in a dialogue concerning a peaceful settlement of the situation in Ukraine.”
Source: Ukrainska Pravda
Translated by Lesia Stangret