Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ukraine president: Russia 'is refusing crisis talks'

Russia's leaders are refusing all negotiations with their Ukrainian counterparts, Ukraine's acting President Oleksandr Turchynov has said. He told AFP news agency that Ukraine would not intervene militarily in Crimea, even though a secession referendum there was a "sham". Meanwhile interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is travelling to the US to meet President Barack Obama. On Thursday he is due to address the UN Security Council in New York. 
"We cannot launch a military operation in Crimea, as we would expose the eastern border [close to Russia] and Ukraine would not be protected," Mr Turchynov told AFP.
He said that Sunday's referendum in Crimea - in which people on the peninsula will decide whether or not to become part of Russia - was "a provocation" that would be boycotted by most people. "The Russian forces don't intend to hold a referendum, they're just going to falsify the results," he said. The president said that at the same time the Russian government was refusing to enter into any dialogue with Ukraine. There has been a call for the release of missing Ukrainians. "Unfortunately, for now Russia is rejecting a diplomatic solution to the conflict," he told AFP. Mr Turchynov earlier on Tuesday called for the creation of a national guard and provide support to troops. He said that the force would include volunteers with military experience who would be on guard against external and internal aggression.