Kerry Commends Ukraine for Showing 'Utmost Restraint' as Russia Invades Its Turf
Secretary of State John Kerry said tonight said that he and other unspecified foreign ministers from "around the world" spoke about Russia's invasion of Ukraine and are "unified in our assessment and will work closely together to support Ukraine and its people at this historic hour."
"The United States condemns the Russian Federation's invasion and occupation of Ukrainian territory, and its violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity in full contravention of Russia’s obligations under the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, its 1997 military basing agreement with Ukraine, and the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. This action is a threat to the peace and security of Ukraine, and the wider region," Kerry said in a statement.
He added that in a call this morning he commended Ukraine's interim president, Oleksandr Turchynov, "for showing the utmost restraint in the face of the clear and present danger to the integrity of their state, and the assaults on their sovereignty."
"We also urge that the Government of Ukraine continue to make clear, as it has from throughout this crisis, its commitment to protect the rights of all Ukrainians and uphold its international obligations," Kerry said. "As President Obama has said, we call for Russia to withdraw its forces back to bases, refrain from interference elsewhere in Ukraine, and support international mediation to address any legitimate issues regarding the protection of minority rights or security."
Kerry stressed "we've made clear that we recognize and respect Russia’s ties to Ukraine and its concerns about treatment of ethnic Russians."
"But these concerns can and must be addressed in a way that does not violate Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, by directly engaging the Government of Ukraine. Unless immediate and concrete steps are taken by Russia to deescalate tensions, the effect on U.S.-Russian relations and on Russia’s international standing will be profound," he continued.
"...In the coming days, emergency consultations will commence in the UN Security Council, the North Atlantic Council, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in defense of the underlying principles critical to the maintenance of international peace and security. We continue to believe in the importance of an international presence from the UN or OSCE to gather facts, monitor for violations or abuses and help protect rights. As a leading member of both organizations, Russia can actively participate and make sure its interests are taken into account."
Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke by phone with Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu on Saturday morning.
"Secretary Hagel expressed deep concern about Russia's military intervention in Ukraine," Kirby said. "He reminded Minister Shoygu that these activities ran counter to Russia's international treaty obligations and stated position that it would respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine."
"Secretary Hagel stressed that, without a change on the ground, Russia risks further instability in the region, isolation in the international community and an escalation that would threaten European and international security."
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