Britain’s Foreign Minister William Hague called for a strong international response to Russia’s de facto control of Ukraine’s Crimea region, describing it as the biggest crisis in 21st century Europe.
Hague, who was in Kyiv to meet the new Ukrainian government, also paid his respects to those who lost their lives in protests in February.
Over in Brussels, EU Foreign Ministers held an emergency meeting.
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, made his views clear ahead of the meeting.
“One has no right whatsoever to invade other countries under the pretext of protecting, allegedly protecting its own citizens,” he said, adding clarification, “I mean, there have been times in the history of Europe in the past when ruthless regimes have been applying that particular theory/doctrine. And that it has been a fundamental principle of European peace, order and security since the Cold War to refute that particular doctrine.”
Addressing the UN in Geneva, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov answered Western criticisms by calling for the interests of the Ukrainian people to be put first, whilst also defending the rights of Russian-speakers in the country.
“All obligations, signed in an agreement of February 21st, must be fulfilled, including the start of a constitutional reform for all the regions of Ukraine taking into account their opinions,” Lavrov said, continuing, “ this reform should then be put to a national referendum.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he will ask the Russian foreign minister to abstain from any acts or rhetoric which could cause the situation in Ukraine to escalate.