Foreign minister says Ukraine will not accept any compromises to placate Russia
Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba on Tuesday expressed concern about an invasion by Russia but reiterated that his country would not take steps to placate the Kremlin.
Kuleba said in an interview with CNN that Ukraine “will not allow anyone to impose any concessions on us” in the midst of rising tensions with Russia.
“If anyone makes a concession on Ukraine, behind Ukraine’s back, first, we will not accept that,” he said. “We will not be in the position of the country that picks up the phone, hears the instruction of the big power and follows it.”
Kuleba warned that Russia may be planning to invade Ukraine despite its denial of such a move.
Russia has been resistant to NATO support for Ukraine, claiming that the organization is threatening Russia by supplying Ukraine with weapons and military training.
Kuleba also expressed confidence in the United States’ support of Ukraine, saying that U.S. officials have said “the United States will remain absolutely committed to slashing Russia if any type of incursion, invasion, interference takes place.”
However, Kuleba also said that the U.S. Embassy’s evacuation plans were “premature.”
Thousands of U.S. troops on Monday were placed on heightened alert for deployment in the event of conflict in Eastern Europe.
A clash between Russia and Ukraine would follow the 2014 incident in which Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
“We have to be smart, we have to be reasonable, but we have to be strong,” Kuleba said, reflecting on mistakes made in 2014.
Kuleba added that if Russian President Vladimir Putin “feels the slightest signs of weakness” from Ukraine, “it will only prompt him to further escalate and to resort to war.”
“We paid a lot,” said Kuleba, “including 15,000 lives of our citizens, to secure the right to decide our own future, our own destiny.”
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