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Ukraine should not be “used as a playing card” in geopolitical games - FM

February 20, 2014, 6:25 UTC+3 NEW YORK
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NEW YORK, February 20,  /ITAR-TASS/. - Ukraine should not be “used as a playing card in the geopolitical games between the West and the East,” Ukraine's Acting Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara told CNN on Wednesday. “This is the right of the Ukrainian people to decide their own destiny,” he said.

He also denied that Ukraine felt “direct influence” from Russia, saying Kiev was currently seeing too many visitors from western Europe.

He said the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland had been invited and would visit Ukraine on Thursday. The acting foreign minister said that since the times of the Orange Revolution, the opposition in Ukraine had been seen as a pro-European and pro-democratic political force, while all that concerned the ruling party was seen as “anti-European and anti-Democratic”, which was “completely wrong”. “We want that they (the foreign ministers) will have their own perception, and they will witness the real situation,” Kozhara said. Referring to Tuesday’s events when unrest in Kiev erupted into outright violence, Kozhara called them “very unfortunate”.

“In the last weeks, police actually stood still, and not responding to offensive actions from the radical groups, which are today many in Kiev,” the foreign minister said. Never before Ukraine had to deal with “so many extremist groups,” he added.

He also said that the country’s leadership saw negotiations as the only possible way out of the existing situation, adding that the government was ready to hold negotiations with the opposition on the Constitution. Kozhara said the president saw negotiations as the most efficient road towards the settlement.

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