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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid