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Russian lower house speaker says ideological split hinders Ukraine crisis settlement

February 26, 2014, 15:43 UTC+3 JERUSALEM
Sergei Naryshkin blamed a split in Ukrainian society for the nation’s impossibility to settle the current crisis in the country that has seen its president ousted
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A protester in front of the Cabinet building in Kiev

A protester in front of the Cabinet building in Kiev

© ITAR-TASS/Denis Vyshinsky

JERUSALEM, February 26. /ITAR-TASS/. The speaker of the lower house of Russia’s parliament blamed a split in Ukrainian society for the nation’s impossibility to settle the current crisis in the country that has seen its president ousted following violent protests.

“A serious ideological split is observed [in Ukraine] that will prevent the situation from being settled,” State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin, on a visit to Israel, told journalists on Wednesday. “Unfortunately, society has nearly opposite viewpoints on Ukraine’s development.”

Naryshkin said Ukraine should resolve the issue of its current authorities’ legitimacy, the form of state structure, stop violence and unlawful manifestations in the country.

“Unfortunately, manifestations of anti-Semitism and Russophobia can be observed in Ukraine,” he lamented.

Ukraine has been hit by anti-government protests since November 2013. A new wave of riots started February 18 and eventually caused President Viktor Yanukovich to flee his residence outside Kiev.

The Verkhovna Rada, the country’s unicameral parliament, appointed its new speaker, Alexander Turchinov, as interim head of state and set early presidential elections for May 25. Yanukovich called the developments “a coup.” His exact whereabouts are unknown.

The Rada also restored the 2004 Constitution that gave broader powers to parliament and canceled the law on the fundamentals of the state language policy, which gave Russian the status of a regional language in 13 out of 27 Ukrainian regions.

According to the Ukrainian Health Ministry, 82 people have been killed and 787 have turned to the Ukrainian capital’s medical institutions for help, with 527 of them hospitalized, since the start of the latest violence on February 18.

Naryshkin said that “the death of people on Kiev’s streets cannot be called other than a tragedy.”

“Any authorities should be guided by laws and the Constitution if they want to be stable,” he said. “I believe in the wisdom of the Ukrainian people. It is a brotherly nation for us. Russia will continue cooperation with Ukraine.

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