Speaking ahead of his visit to Ukraine, the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said:
I am extremely concerned by reports of the activities of armed pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, including the detention of hostages, intimidation of the media and the reported shooting down of Ukrainian military helicopters this morning. There can be no doubt that these incidents, perpetrated by well-trained groups using sophisticated military technology, are intended to provoke further instability. These provocations are destroying all efforts to reduce tensions and are a serious threat to the country.
Ukraine has shown admirable restraint since the beginning of this crisis in the face of extreme provocation on its own national territory. Now more than ever it is important that all parties, including the Russian Federation, abide by the commitments they made in Geneva on 17 April. I urge the Russian authorities to act to reduce tensions and to call upon separatist groups to lay down their arms.
I will visit Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova next week to demonstrate the UK’s firm commitment to supporting these countries on their chosen path to a more stable, democratic and prosperous future.
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