Introductory speech by the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, during his meeting with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Leonid Kozhara, Munich, 1 February 2014
When we speak about the situation in Ukraine, we should not simplify everything, because otherwise it means facing up to the situation, when leaks and rumours in the mass media rule the entire process. This is absolutely wrong, not correct. Now we need less slogans and more caring about the results of the efforts, which are being undertaken, to return the situation to a constitutional one.
Our friend, the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, stated that Ukraine should choose who it is with: the entire world or one country. Knowing his experience and common sense I did not expect such an "agitprop" from him. When I contact him next, I will ask what his mark in arithmetic was.
I completely agree that we need to maintain relations within the framework of the entire Atlantic Europe – some OSCE documents speak about this, it is the goal of the Helsinki Plus 40 programme which started under the Ukrainian presidency of the OSCE. It is counterproductive to use fine words, sign under high principles, but act otherwise in practice. Russia, Ukraine and the EU are strategic partners. We do not want any "behind-the-scene" manoeuvres either, to play the old card "with us or against us". This is thinking from the last epoch which should be relegated to history or even better disappear.
We actively supported the proposition of the Ukrainian government to hold trilateral consultations Ukraine-Russia-EU. We still think that this is a reasonable idea. It was discussed at the Russia-EU summit in Brussels. We feel that the partners that the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, talked to are starting to better understand that we should stop building artificial barriers dividing the immense common OSCE space. Today, at the Munich conference, in which we are participating, we are hearing slightly different, earlier statements, that Ukraine must make a choice, and this choice should be in favour of the EU. It is evident that there is a mismatch between reality and what is supposed to be reality. I hope that after the meetings you are holding here, as well as after the Ukrainian President's contacts with the opposition and foreign partners, others will understand that they should stop their attempts to act according to the "with us or against us" principle.
1 February 2014