Deeply worrying developments in eastern Ukraine
“Developments in eastern Ukraine over the last 24 hours give cause for concern. It is deeply regrettable that once again people have been killed as a result of the political conflict in the country,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
Over the last few days, a number of government buildings have been seized by armed groups in several cities in eastern Ukraine, in what appears to be a coordinated and professional operation.
“Those responsible for these actions carry a heavy responsibility. I urge all parties to refrain from aggressive and confrontational actions that could aggravate the situation,” said Mr Brende.
In Mr Brende’s view, the need for dialogue is now greater than ever in order to prevent a further escalation of the situation. Groups in eastern Ukraine must be able to express their views peacefully, but the use of arms is unacceptable.
“The concentration of Russian military forces along the eastern border with Ukraine is further destabilising the situation. I reiterate Norway’s strong support for Ukraine’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Russia must pull its troops back from Ukraine’s borders and desist from all other actions aimed at destabilising Ukraine,” said Mr Brende.
A meeting between Ukraine, the US, the EU and Russia is scheduled for this week, focusing on the situation in Ukraine.
“It is good that Ukraine, the US, the EU and Russia are due to meet this week. I hope the meeting will go ahead as planned, and that Russia too will participate in a responsible way,” said Mr Brende.