News / Europe

Ukrainian Envoy: Country Supports EU Membership, Good Relations with Russia

Ukrainian representative to the United Nations, Yuriy Sergeyev, speaks during a press conference about the ongoing social upheaval in Ukraine, Feb. 24, 2014 at the United Nations in New York City.
Ukrainian representative to the United Nations, Yuriy Sergeyev, speaks during a press conference about the ongoing social upheaval in Ukraine, Feb. 24, 2014 at the United Nations in New York City.
Margaret Besheer
Ukraine’s U.N. ambassador says his countrymen “broadly” support EU membership, but they also want good neighborly relations with Russia.

Yuriy Sergeyev has been Ukraine’s U.N. ambassador since 2007. The Armenian-born son of a Russian father and Ukrainian mother said Monday he publicly parted ways with the government of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych on December 1, 2013, a day after a group of Kyiv medical students were beaten by police during peaceful street protests.

He now refers to his former bosses as ‘crooks,’ and he dismissed accusations of a coup. He said it is understandable that Yanukovych has been replaced and early elections called for May 25.

“He left his party, he left his partners, he disappeared secretly from the city; he destroyed himself. He disappeared and left his duties. He did that. That is why it is absolutely understandable what the parliament did, calling for the early elections," said Sergeyev.

Key dates about Ukraine's events

2013
  • Nov. 21: Ukraine suspends plans to sign EU association agreement
  • Nov. 30: Riot police crack down on anti-government protesters in Kyiv
  • Dec. 17: Russia offers $15 billion in loans and slashes gas prices

2014
  • Jan. 16: Ukraine parliament passes anti-protest law
  • Jan. 22: Protests spread, two protesters shot and killed in Kyiv clashes
  • Jan. 29: Parliament approves law offering amnesty to detained protesters if demonstrators abandon occupied buildings
  • Feb. 16: Protesters leave occupied government buildings after 2 months
  • Feb. 18: Police storm Kyiv protest camp, 18 protesters and police are killed
  • Feb. 20: Battles erupt, despite a truce announced a day earlier.  At least 39 people are killed
  • Feb. 21: President Yanukovych announces early elections after talks brokered by EU diplomats
  • Feb. 22: Opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko is freed
  • Feb. 23: Oleksandr Turchynov named interim leader, the whereabouts of Viktor Yanukovych are unclear
  • Feb. 24: Ukraine issues arrest warrant for ousted President Yanukovych
Ukraine is split between those who want the country to move closer to Europe and those who want stronger ties with Russia.  Yanukovych backed out of a trade deal with the European Union in November, setting off protests that led to him being kicked out of office.

Sergeyev said EU accession and a proposed loan package from the IMF have broad support among Ukrainians, and he says closer ties to Europe are in the country’s interest.

“We need association to help us reform ourselves, to modernize ourselves. To use EU assistance to assist us to change the economic, financial, social situation, which is not good now," he said.

As for Russia, he said the Ukrainian people want respect and mutually beneficial relations from their former Soviet ruler.

Moscow has reacted strongly to Yanukovych’s ouster, referring to the protesters as “riotous militants,” and questioning the legitimacy of Ukraine's new authorities.

Also Monday, the chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said at the U.N. Security Council that he is proposing establishing an international contact group on Ukraine to help support it through its transition. Didier Burkhalter told the Council that the violence in Ukraine is a “sobering reminder that security in Europe cannot be taken for granted.”

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reiterated his call for inclusive political talks and an end to the violence that has killed 100 anti-government protesters in the past two weeks. He also has dispatched a senior advisor to Kyiv to talk to the parties.

  • Members of self-defense units react after demolishing a fence enclosing the parliament building in Kyiv, Feb. 26, 2014.
  • A member of a self-defense unit saws a fence enclosing the parliament building in Kyiv, Feb. 26, 2014.
  • Anti-Yanukovych protesters march in the Independence Square, Kyiv, Feb. 26, 2014.
  • A woman cries at a memorial for the people killed in clashes with the police at Kyiv's Independence Square, Feb. 26, 2014.
  • An anti-Yanukovych protester cries near a memorial for the people killed in clashes in Kyiv's Independence Square, Feb. 25, 2014.
  • An anti-Yanukovych protester, wearing a Ukrainian flag with the name of his village written across it, places flowers at a memorial for the people killed in clashes in Kyiv's Independence Square, Feb. 25, 2014.
  • Flowers are seen placed at a barricade in Kyiv's Independence Square, Feb. 24, 2014.
  • People lay flowers at the barricades in memory of the victims of the recent clashes in central Kyiv, Feb. 24, 2014.
  • An opposition supporter cries near a memorial for the people killed in clashes with the police at Independence Square in Kyiv, Feb. 24, 2014.
  • Opposition supporters warm themselves around a fire as they guard one of the streets heading to Kyiv's Independence Square, Feb. 24, 2014.
  • Opposition supporters warm themselves around a fire in Kyiv's Independence Square, Feb. 24, 2014.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid