Britain warns Russia against intervening in Ukraine

LONDON (AFP) - Russia should not intervene in the Ukraine crisis, Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Sunday, insisting it would not be in Moscow's interests to weigh in.

Speaking after Ukraine's parliament ousted President Viktor Yanukoych following a bloody end to three months of protests, Hague said there was a "moment of opportunity" for Ukraine but there were still "many dangers" ahead.

Hague said London was talking with Moscow and stressing that Ukraine becoming closer to the European Union was in Russia's interests too.

"It's very important for us to continue to try to persuade Russia that this need not be a zero sum game," Hague told BBC television.

"It's in the interests of the people of Ukraine to be able to trade more freely with the EU; it's in the interests of the people of Russia for that to happen as well." Asked if he thought there was any prospect of Russia sending tanks into Ukraine, Hague replied: "We don't know, of course, what Russia's next reaction will be.

"Any external duress on Ukraine any more than we've seen in recent weeks...

it really would not be in the interests of Russia to do any such thing.

"The people of Ukraine can choose their own way forward. I'm not suggesting that anybody is going to stop them, but there are many dangers and uncertainties." Hague said he would be talking to his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Monday, and said if an international economic assistance package was offered to Ukraine, "it will be important that Russia doesn't do anything to undermine that".

Register here to get free digital access to The Straits Times until Aug 9, 2015.
Comments