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article imageOp-Ed: Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers meet for first time

By Ken Hanly     Mar 25, 2014 in Politics
The Hague - Both the Ukraine and Russia now seem to be moving towards acceptance of some of the realities on the ground in the Ukraine as the foreign ministers of the Ukraine and Russia meet for the first time.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had previously snubbed the Ukrainian foreign minister and other key Ukrainian officials on the ground that the new Ukrainian government was not legitimate. In reality this makes little difference since the new government is supported by most in the west and also has actual power on the ground.
On the Ukrainian side a similar recognition of reality is setting in to some degree as Ukrainian troops are withdrawn from the Crimea where the new Crimean government supported by Russian forces has effective control. The Ukrainian government does not recognize Crimean authorities and even wants to arrest some of its officials but they wisely are accepting the fact that their own troops must be repatriated as is happening to about a third. Two thirds are going to join the Crimean forces.
Former acting Ukrainian Defence Minister Ihor Tenyukh: "... said he had received requests from about 6,500 soldiers and their family members to leave Crimea. The remaining two-thirds of the some 18,800 soldiers based in Crimea will stay on the peninsula and take their chances under Russian rule. "
Tenyukh was dismissed today (March 25) over his handling of the Crimean situation with many complaining there had not been clear instructions given to troops earlier.
Lavrov met with his Ukrainian counterpart Andriy Deschytsia in the Hague where both are attending a security conference. Deschytsia had been hoping for the talks saying:“I will demand that there is no escalation to the situation but at the same time offering our readiness to start talks with Russia".
Their main topic of conversation was the security crisis in the Ukraine. Lavrov told reporters after the meeting that he had outlined to Deschytsia the steps he thought the Ukraine should take to defuse the crisis.
Among the steps Lavrov mentioned was amending the Ukrainian constitution to give more power to different regions. This might help meet the demands of some regions in the east of the Ukraine that are pro-Russian and in Odessa in the south. He also wanted the Ukraine to pledge not to join NATO. For his part the Ukrainian foreign minister expressed his concerns about a Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine a Russian troops mass on the Ukraine's eastern border with Russia: "The possibility of a military invasion is very high. We are very much worried about this concentration of troops on our eastern border,"
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about russia ukraine relations, Ukraine Crimea relations, ukraine crisis
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