U.S. – EU REACTION TO EVENTS IN UKRAINE (15/05/2014)

By U.S. Ambassador Susan Elliott and EU Ambassador Eduard Auer

Dushanbe, Tajikistan, 15 May, 2014 - We are standing at a critical juncture in Ukraine. The U.S. and EU remain committed to resolving this escalating crisis through dialogue.  Defending Ukraine’s undeniable right to defend its territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence is a moral obligation for all civilized nations who believe in the rule of law.
 
As Secretary of State John Kerry recently said, “The U.S. and the EU are not going to sit idly by while Russian elements fan the flames of instability, instead of fulfilling the commitments that were made in Geneva.”  Following the Geneva talks, the Ukrainian government took immediate, specific steps to de-escalate the situation in Kyiv; we are disappointed that Russia has failed to reciprocate. 
 
EU High Representative Catherine Ashton made it clear that "The EU will not recognize any illegitimate and illegal 'referenda'. We believe it's very important that all parties concentrate on implementing the Geneva Statement, of which dialogue and the end of violence and provocation are essential elements".

“We also are very concerned about efforts of pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk to organize a contrived, bogus independence referendum on May 11th.  We flatly reject this illegal effort to further divide Ukraine.  This is the Crimea playbook all over again.  No civilized nation will recognize the results; and if Russia takes the next step to reenact its illegal Crimea annexation in eastern or southern Ukraine and sends more forces over the border, harsh U.S. and EU sanctions will follow,” said Kerry.
 
It is quite clear that the U.S., the EU, and our allies stand together, united not just in support of Ukraine, but united in support of de-escalation; united in support of a peaceful and diplomatic solution; united in recognition that while there are historic, cultural and other ties between Russia and Ukraine, the way to assert them is through diplomatic negotiation and not violence.

The upcoming May 25th elections in Ukraine must be free and fair.  We are working to empower the Ukrainian people to determine their future democratically.  As President Obama has made clear, if Russian elements continue to sabotage the democratic process and prevent Ukraine from holding a free and fair election, it will lead to additional and far-reaching consequences between U.S.-European and Russian relations in a broad range of areas.