Accusing Russia of carrying out a military “invasion” in Ukraine, US Secretary of State John Kerry has said that it will have “profound” effect on US-Russia ties.
“The United States condemns the Russian Federation’s invasion and occupation of the 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,” Kerry said.
“Unless immediate and concrete steps are taken by Russia to deescalate tensions, the effect on US-Russian relations and on Russia’s international standing will be profound,” Kerry said in a statement yesterday. Kerry also said he had held a joint conference call with his global counterparts “to coordinate on next steps.”
“I convened a call this afternoon with my counterparts from around the world, to coordinate on next steps. We were unified in our assessment and will work closely together to support Ukraine and its people at this historic hour,” Kerry said.
“In the coming days, emergency consultations will commence in the UN Security Council, the North Atlantic Council, and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe in defence of the underlying principles critical to the maintenance of international peace and security,” he 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,” he said.
Kerry also sought to tackle Russian concerns over the political upheavals in Ukraine, saying, “From day one, we’ve made clear that we recognise 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,” Kerry said.
On Saturday, the top US diplomat had also spoken with Ukrainian interim president Oleksandr Turchynov. Kerry assured the Ukrainian leader about the “strong support of the United States” and commended it “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.”