The Kiev government’s announcement today of its willingness to discuss the broadening of the rights and powers of the country’s regions and minorities is an excellent sign, and one that will require concrete encouragement and follow-up by a contact group, as discussed in Rome last week, with regard to whose formation we expect positive developments.
The contact group would be a transparent and impartial international instrument by which to launch direct dialogue between Kiev and Moscow, and put them on the path that both maintain they want: that of de-escalation and a political-diplomatic solution to the crisis.
The violations of Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty and integrity are in stark contrast with international law and the conventions to which the Russian Federation itself is party. It is our hope that the Russian authorities decide in the coming hours to take rapid and concrete action to reduce the tensions on the ground.
In this context, the Crimean parliament’s call for a referendum on the region’s adhesion to the Russian Federation not only appears illegitimate, but would trigger dynamics that would eliminate any possible hope for dialogue. We trust the Russian authorities will decide to contribute to avoiding such an outcome, which would only lead to a dangerous heightening of the tensions.