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Russian PM: political weakness of Ukrainian authorities doomed people to suffering

March 22, 2014, 2:39 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, March 22, /ITAR-TASS/. The current crisis in Ukraine is not accidental, and the Ukrainian leadership’s political impotence, as well as President Viktor Yanukovich’s “personal weakness and indecision” doomed Ukraine’s people to suffering, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Facebook.

“People who took to the streets had the right to a peaceful protest against corruption and arbitrariness of authorities. But this does not cancel the fact that seizure of power by means of an armed revolt, by means of violence and murders, is inadmissible,” Medvedev wrote Friday.

Ukraine is in political turmoil. Violent anti-government protests, which started in November 2013 when the country suspended the signing of an association agreement with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia, resulted in a coup in February 2014.

President Viktor Yanukovich had to leave Ukraine citing security concerns last month. Russia’s official position is that Yanukovich remains Ukraine’s only legitimate leader at the moment.

The Republic of Crimea, where most residents are Russians, also refused to recognize the new Ukrainian authorities. Crimea held a referendum on March 16, in which it decided to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, and subsequently signed a treaty with Moscow on Crimea's accession to the Russian Federation on March 18.

“Yanukovich was not legally dismissed, which means he remains the legally elected president, who was forcibly removed from power,” Medvedev wrote, adding that everyone should understand that, including “representatives of Maidan who hold sittings in the government and [Verkhovna] Rada [Ukrainian parliament], political functionaries in Kiev and Russia’s Western partners.”

Maidan is the name for downtown Kiev's Independence Square, which is the symbol of Ukrainian protests. The word “Maidan” is also used as a collective name for anti-government protests in Ukraine.

“The new authorities have no proper legitimacy. What is even worse - they don’t have real levers of influence on the situation in the country. The power is held by different radicals, militants, bandits. They make final decisions and are likely to continue making them after May 25 [date set by Ukraine’s parliament for early presidential elections],” the Russian premier wrote.

“There’s no sense for them to share power with others. They are masters on the streets and at entrances to administrative buildings,” he said.

This scenario is dangerous, Medvedev said, adding that such administration methods entail the collapse of the state.

“The current situation predetermined the lack of normal relations between the heads of our countries’ governments. Although, of course, working-level contacts remain,” the Russian prime minister said.

Despite Russian President Vladimir Putin and other officials repeatedly stating that the Crimean referendum was in full conformity with the international law and the UN Charter, and also in line with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, Ukraine’s self-proclaimed new authorities and the West have cried foul over the plebiscite claiming it was illegal, and have refused to recognize Crimea part of Russia.

The West imposed sanctions on some Russian individuals and organizations due to Moscow’s actions regarding the situation in Ukraine and Crimea. Putin and other top officials were sarcastic about the sanctions. Russia has pledged to respond in kind, imposing tit-for-tat sanctions on Western officials.

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