Ukraine: Country's new rulers ‘gun-toting mutineers’ and we will not work with them, says Russia
Russia criticised Ukraine’s new rulers on Monday, blaming Western meddlers for installing an interim government, which Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev dismissed as a group of “Kalashnikov-toting” mutineers, which the Kremlin would not work with.
The first reaction from Russia on the political transition in Kiev puts it at odds with the European Union, which considers recent events as a legitimate transfer of power to an acting government which is keen to rekindle ties with its neighbours to the west.
The EU’s top diplomat, Catherine Ashton, flew into Kiev on Monday to meet the parliamentary Speaker, Olexandr Turchynov, whom the bloc has recognised as Ukraine’s interim President.
Moscow, however, made clear it had a different view of the events of the past week, when the deaths of dozens of protesters led to an EU-brokered peace deal and President Viktor Yanukovych’s flight to his eastern strongholds.
“If you consider Kalashnikov-toting people in black masks who are roaming Kiev to be the government, then it will be hard for us to work with that government,” Mr Medvedev told the state-run RIA news agency. “Some of our foreign partners think differently.”
A Russian foreign ministry statement said the EU-backed peace deal negotiated on Friday was partly to blame because it was used as cover “for a forced change of power”.
The delicate situation is raising fears of a split between those in the western cities, who see their future as part of Europe, and swathes of the east, where a Russian-speaking population still backs Mr Yanukovych, who refuses to officially relinquish power. The crisis is also fuelling tensions between Europe and Russia, which both see Ukraine as a key strategic ally.
Most immediately pressing, however, is the economy, which Mr Turchynov said was “heading into the abyss” and needed €25bn (£21bn).
Russia offered a €15bn loan to Ukraine when it was wooing it away from the EU, but only €3bn has been delivered so far and the rest is on hold pending the Kremlin’s assessment of the May elections.
EU and US officials said they were willing to step in with financial help but Russia will continue to wield economic influence over Kiev because the former Soviet state owes huge debts to the state-owned gas company Gazprom.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton visits a memorial for victims of the clashes in Kiev (Reuters)
Foreign Secretary William Hague, who is travelling to Washington to discuss the situation with US Secretary of State John Kerry, warned that without urgent assistance Ukraine’s finances “ may not be sustainable” and would be a “grave threat to stability”.
The former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev warned that world powers should work together to try to prevent Ukraine tearing itself apart. “If the EU wants to have things its own way, the United States wants to have things their own way, and Russia wants to have things its own way, I think that would be wrong,” he said.
- 1 Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
- 2 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 3 The Simpsons death: Creator Al Jean would 'kill himself' before character like Homer or Lisa
- 4 British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
Isis an hour away from Baghdad - with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin wedding: The famous congratulate actor and human rights lawyer after Venice nuptials
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
'Women, walk wherever you want' posters taken down in Stamford Hill following 'unacceptable' signs separating men and women
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >
£330 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Lond...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Reading: Maths Teacher required to teach Furthe...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary teachers requ...
£18000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...