The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed outrage at recent proposals by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation for the “federalization” of Ukraine. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discussed these proposals on Russia’s state television program “Sunday Times” (Vremya Voskresnoe) on March 30.
The response of the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was posted on their website on March 30:
“The ultimatum and the didactic tone of these statements demonstrate that as the real aggressor Russia does not accept any control over its own behavior. Under the barrels of its machine guns, this aggressor demands only one thing — the complete capitulation of Ukraine, its dismemberment, and the destruction of Ukrainian statehood.
Russia’s proposals for federalization, a second official language, and referendums are viewed in Ukraine as nothing less than proof of Russia’s aggression. We sincerely regret that Minister S. Lavrov had to voice them.
We would like to propose to the Russian side that before issuing ultimatums to a sovereign and independent state, it turn its attention to the disastrous conditions and complete powerlessness of its own national minorities, including the Ukrainian one. Why does not Russia give substance to the federalism which, incidentally, is in its official name and which remains a meaningless, declarative concept?
Why not give additional powers to the national subjects of the federation, whose development is being suppressed today as harshly as during the tsarist and Soviet times? Why not introduce other official languages aside from Russian — languages spoken by millions of Russian citizens? Why not hold referendums on broad autonomy and, if necessary, the independence of the subjects of the Russian Federation?
We understand these questions are purely rhetorical. Even their very thought will be harshly repressed. And any attempts to realize them — as was the case in North Caucasus — will be drowned in blood.
Unfortunately, nothing has changed in Russia from those times when the great Taras Shevchenko wrote ‘From Moldavia to Finland, everything in every language is silent.’
Do not attempt to teach others. Better bring order to your own country. You have plenty of problems,” the statement concludes.
Translated by Anna Mostovych