Apart from Russia, six countries border Ukraine – and as the crisis deepened with Russian military involvement, most expressed deep concern at developments.
On the eve of his departure for a special meeting on March 3 of European Union foreign ministers on Ukraine, Romanian foreign minister Titus Corlăţean reiterated “the imperative of ensuring stability, security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
He expressed deep concern at the current situation and said that he would emphasise the need for the international legal framework to be respected.
Romania wanted to see active, consistent and united involvement of the EU regarding Ukraine.
RFE/RL reported Moldovan prime minister Iurie Leanca as saying that tensions between pro-Russian Crimeans and pro-European Ukrainians are reminiscent to Moldovans of their own separatist conflict involving Transdniester.
Leanca said that Moldova hoped Ukraine will be able to preserve its territorial integrity.
“What is happening in Ukraine shows that if a country does not react immediately to the danger [of separatism] – if you don’t tackle at home – it spreads to the whole region,” Leanca said.
Polish foreign ministry spokesperson Marcin Wojciechowski said on March 1 that Poland “strongly appeals” for respecting Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and observing international law, including fundamental principles of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
“Any decisions that will be taken in the coming days, including of military nature, could have irreparable consequences for the international order,” Poland’s foreign ministry said.
“We call for stopping provocative movements of troops on the Crimean Peninsula.
We urge states-signatories to the Budapest Memorandum of December 1994, which gives Ukraine security assurances, to respect and fulfil their commitments,” Wojciechowski said.
Slovak foreign minister Miroslav Lajčák said in a Twitter message on March 2 that “threats and controversial moves bring no good, especially between (good) neighbours. Dialogue where all sides talk and listen badly needed”.
Expressing its deep concern, Hungary’s foreign ministry said on March 1 that the situation that has arisen on the Crimean Peninsula seriously endangers Ukraine’s territorial integrity as well as peace and security in the region.
The foreign ministry in Budapest reaffirmed Hungary’s commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Among the immediate neighbours of Ukraine, the response to the developments of the past week has been, predictably, different in the case of pro-Moscow Belarus.
Belarus is interested in preserving territorial integrity of neighboring Ukraine, Russian news agency ITAR-TASS reported on February 28.
Belarusian foreign minister Uladzimir Makei said that the current developments in Ukraine could be described as utter tragedy.
“We negatively assess what is currently going on in Ukraine… We consider the developments in Ukraine a tragedy,” the press service of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry quoted him as saying after talks with his Latvian counterpart Edgars Rinkevics in Riga.
According to Makei, Minsk was interested in Ukraine’s “remaining a sovereign, independent and territorially integral country”.
Beyond Ukraine’s immediate neighbours, Turkey’s foreign minister said on March 1 that Turkey believed that all problems in Crimea should be solved through dialogue within the unity of Ukraine.
(Photo of the Russian Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol: cpapm)