Foreign Secretary William Hague spoke on the situation in Ukraine ahead of a visit to the country on Sunday 2 March.
Speaking to journalists at RAF Northolt, the Foreign Secretary said:
I’m going to Kiev to meet the new Ukrainian authorities. I have had telephone calls with many of them over the last few days. I think it’s very important to meet them, including the acting president. It’s very important that we all do everything we can to calm tensions. The Ukrainians have said to me in the last couple of days that they will not rise to provocations. And of course I will strongly advise them to continue with that approach. I am very concerned by reports this morning of escalating tension.
We will also continue to urge the Russians to speak directly to the Ukrainians, through ministers, through military channels. They have so far not wanted to do that. I urged Foreign Minister Lavrov yesterday to do that. And in the absence of that I think we have to explore how they can speak to each other under the auspices of the United Nations or of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. So I want to discuss all of those issues with them. At the same time we have to recognise the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine has been violated and this cannot be the way to conduct international affairs.
And so in addition to calling yesterday’s emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, the United Kingdom will join other G8 countries this week in suspending our co-operation under the G8, which Russia chairs this year, including the preparation meetings this week for the preparation of the G8 summit. And then we will keep our approach to further G8 meetings under review.
And finally I will discuss with the Ukrainian leadership the need for them to represent their whole country. To include, as much as possible, in their leadership representatives of the east and south of the country, to ensure that forthcoming elections are fair to all concerned and to prepare for the tough economic decisions that they will have to make in order to secure international financial support. So I hope to cover all of these things in the visit to Kiev today and tomorrow.
A joint statement on the current events in Ukraine from the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States and the President of the European Council and President of the European Commission.
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