MOSCOW, March 31, 19:11 /ITAR-TASS/. The president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE PA), Ranko Krivokapic, said Monday a solution to the Ukrainian crisis could only be found with Russia’s participation.
Krivokapic is expected to meet with Sergey Naryshkin, the chairman of the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, later today.
Krivokapic, who is also the speaker of the parliament of Montenegro, said he would first visit Moscow and then the Ukrainian capital Kiev for talks on the situation around Ukraine. Russia should take part in seeking ways out of the crisis, he said.
A coup occurred in Ukraine in February after months of anti-government protests, which often turned violent. President Viktor Yanukovich had to leave the country citing security concerns last month.
The crisis deepened when the Republic of Crimea, which does not recognize the new self-proclaimed Ukrainian authorities in Kiev, signed a treaty with the Russian Federation to become its constituent member on March 18 after a referendum two days earlier in which most Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia.
Russia considers Yanukovich Ukraine’s legitimate leader and does not recognize the new Ukrainian leadership either.
For his part, OSCE special representative on anti-terrorism, a member of the Russian State Duma security committee Nikolay Kovalev said talks with the OSCE PA delegation are productive.
“We have outlined a wide range of issues to be discussed. We are united in one thing - Russia’s position does not change: our task is to prevent human losses in connection with aggravation of the situation in Ukraine,” the politician said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials have repeatedly stated 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.
Despite that, Ukraine’s new authorities and the West have denounced the Crimean plebiscite claiming it was illegal, and have refused to recognize Crimea part of Russia. Western countries even moved further, imposing sanctions on some Russian officials, but Moscow responded tit for tat.