Int'l community calls for unity in Ukraine
Updated: 2014-02-24 13:45
KIEV -- International community has called on all sides in Ukraine to preserve the country's unity and avoid violence after President Viktor Yanukovych was dismissed by parliament following more than three months of protests.
Expressing strong support for actions taken by the Ukrainian parliament, US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday urged all sides in the conflicts to refrain from violence and respect Ukraine's democratic institutions.
In a telephone talk with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, he said his country hoped Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity and democratic freedom of choice will be respected by all the parties.
The top US diplomat also hoped that Russia could join the United States and the European Union to help Ukraine "turn the page and emerge from this crisis stronger, united and moving forward through new elections and critically needed reforms."
US President Barack Obama's National Security Adviser Susan Rice said "it's not in the interests of Ukraine or of Russia or of Europe or of the United States to see the country (Ukraine) split."
On Sunday, Ukrainian lawmakers voted to hand over the duties of the president to new parliament Speaker Oleksandr Turchynov, one day after the lawmakers ousted Yanukovych from his post and set an early election for May 25.
Considering the escalation of the situation in Ukraine, Russia decided on Sunday to call its ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov back to Moscow for "consultations."
In a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel,Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed that "Ukraine must quickly get a government capable of acting and its territorial integrity must be preserved."
The European Union also expressed its support for Ukraine to stabilize the country's economic situation and find a lasting solution to the political crisis.
EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will pay a visit to Ukraine on Monday for talks, saying that everyone in the conflicts should behave responsibly with a view to protecting the country's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Sunday urged Ukrainians to preserve the country's unity and integrity and to refrain from violence.
"We want a respect of the constitution, the formation of a new government and the preparation of elections as soon as possible," he said.
Ukraine's interim president made clear on Sunday that the country will revive plans to push Ukraine closer to the European Union, saying that Kiev is ready to talk with Moscow on Ukraine's European choice.
However, President Yanukovych's whereabouts remain unclear after he signed an agreement with the opposition that ended bloodshed and conflicts that killed more than 80 people last week in Kiev.
Meanwhile, newly released former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said Sunday that she would not run for premiership in the new interim government. "I ask you not to consider my candidacy for the post of prime minister," she said.
Tymoshenko, a key opposition leader, said she was surprised by the statement of her ally, opposition lawmaker Mykola Tomenko, who said earlier in the day that Tymoshenko is one of the three front-runners to be named as head of the cabinet.
She was convicted in October 2011 for abuse of power over a 2009 gas deal with Russia and was released on Saturday evening in eastern Ukraine after the parliament approved earlier in the day a fast-track procedure that did not require the president's endorsement.