Russian Crisis: The West unites in its support for President

THE West spoke as one yesterday in declaring that President Boris Yeltsin had had no alternative. Governments from London to Tirana, once the most hardline of Communist capitals, declared his action legal and justified.

John Major said, after being briefed by the Russian ambassador to London, Boris Pankin: 'I do not believe over the last day or so that President Yeltsin had any choice but to act as he did and I very much admire his restraint over recent months. There should be no doubt that he has our total and unequivocal support for the action that he has taken.'

A meeting of European Community foreign ministers in Luxembourg put on a show of unity with a strongly worded declaration of support. While deploring the loss of life in Moscow, they put the blame entirely on Mr Yeltsin's opponents. 'Elements hostile to the democratisation process in Russia carry a heavy responsibility, for having deliberately provoked violence in the Russian parliament and in different parts of the capital,' the Twelve said.

Douglas Hurd, the Foreign Secretary, called Mr Yeltsin's use of force 'proportionate and justified', adding: 'What President Yeltsin needs . . . is proof for his people that we in the West understand the nature of the problem, how it occurred, and that it was necessary to deal with it firmly and quickly.'

Mr Hurd added that there was no question of reassessing this stance in the light of future events. 'The use of force has been decisive, necessary, to deal with this revolt,' he said. 'There is no reason to suppose that repression will go beyond what is needed to deal with a localised revolt.'

Mr Hurd said that negotiations on an EC-Russian partnership agreement on a free-trade area would now be accelerated. A special summit will be brought forward to this month, even though the agreement will not be ready in time. Mr Hurd also said Russian reservations over the enlargement of Nato should be taken into consideration, though he was careful not to say that these should block new members in Central Europe.

Mr Hurd confirmed that during lunch a message had been received from Ruslan Khasbulatov and Alexander Rutskoi asking for guarantees of safety if they surrendered. It had been passed via Italian journalists to the Belgian ambassador. It had simply been bounced back to Moscow, which had said there would be no summary executions.

China was the only big power to hedge its bets. 'We are deeply concerned about the recent bloodshed in Moscow,' the Chinese Foreign Ministry said. 'As a friendly neighbour, we hope to see an end to the conflict and a proper solution to the current situation in the interest of the stability, unity and economic recovery and development of Russia.'

President Sali Berisha of Albania said: 'I am sure there was no other solution. There is no doubt that President's Yeltsin's reaction . . . is a fully legal act which aims at re-establishing order and calm.'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
tech
Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Teachers and Support Staff

£50 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an SEN Teacher or L...

English and Media Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: English & Media Teacher - ...

Y1 Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Y1 Teacher required for a So...

Senior Financial Services Associate - City

Highly Competitive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - FINANCIAL SERVICES - Senior...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week