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Britain calls for de-escalation of tensions in Ukraine

English.news.cn   2014-03-02 05:55:52

LONDON, March 1 (Xinhua) -- British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Saturday expressed "deep concerns" over the escalation of tensions in Ukraine, urging the world leaders to take diplomatic action to address the crisis in the Eastern European country.

"I am deeply concerned at the escalation of tensions in Ukraine, and the decision of the Russian parliament to authorize military action on Ukrainian soil against the wishes of the Ukrainian government," Hague said in a statement.

"This action is a potentially grave threat to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine. We condemn any act of aggression against Ukraine," he added.

However, Russian President Vladimir Putin has not yet decided on the use of military force in Ukraine despite winning the green light from the upper house of parliament for such a move, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Saturday.

"Now that the Federation Council, upper house of parliament, adopted the relevant decision, the president has received the full array of means needed for settling the situation both in terms of using troops and in terms of making a decision on the head of our diplomatic mission in the United States," Peskov told a local television station.

Putin had not yet made either decision, and he would make decisions depending on how the situation evolves, the spokesman said.

Hague said that Britain has summoned the Russian ambassador to the British Foreign Office to register its "deep concerns."

The British foreign secretary spoke to his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov Saturday to urge steps to calm the "dangerous situation" in Ukraine, according to the British Foreign Office.

"I told Minister Lavrov that Britain supports the Ukrainian government's request for urgent consultations in accordance with the 1994 Budapest Memorandum signed by the UK, U.S., Russia and Ukraine," Hague continued.

Also on Saturday, Hague spoke to German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, with the two leaders agreeing on the need for international diplomatic action to address the crisis.

Hague said Britain supports the proposed emergency meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, and his country has already called an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council for Saturday afternoon in New York.

Hague is scheduled to visit Ukraine on Sunday to discuss the issues directly with the Ukrainian government.

"I will reiterate the UK's support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine. I will also discuss how the UK can support the Ukrainian government in recovering improperly acquired assets," Hague explained.

He added that the EU must agree urgently an asset freezing regime to target those suspected of "laundering the proceeds of corruption."

"On my instructions, the British Embassy in Kiev has told the Ukrainian government that we stand ready to provide Ukraine with technical advice on asset recovery," he said.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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