US Ambassador Ries: Ukraine’s Battle is One for PrinciplesDiplomatic Channel | April 9, 2014, Wednesday // 13:12| views
US Ambassador Marcie Ries. Photo by BGNES
The Ambassador of the United States to Bulgaria, Marcie Ries, analyzed the situation in Ukraine for the Standart daily newspaper.
Since last November, the Ukrainian people have been trying to determine their own future. This process has become a symbol of bravery and peaceful change around the world. The international community remains united in its position on Ukraine, respecting its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Last November, a small group of people gathered in Kiev to make their voice heard. They disapproved the decision of President Viktor Yanukovych to back away from signing an Association Agreement with the European Union. This public protest grew, spread to tens of thousands. It became more than a protest against a political decision. Citizens stood united in the coldest winter months on the Maidan, to call for the removal of a corrupt system.
This does not concern only Ukraine. It concerns the fundamental principles which guide international relations in the 21st century. The current world order is founded on principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity. Russia's historical connection to Ukraine cannot in itself justify dictating the country's future.
Another important feature of Ukraine's political activism today, is that it includes all nationalities, ethnicities, and regions. All the people of Ukraine, who speak Ukrainian, Russian, Tatar, Bulgarian, have a right to determine their future within a democratic state. In May, they will elect the new President, who will have the responsibility to build a future Ukraine, which its people would like to see.
Meanwhile in Crimea, Russia destroyed the existing international order and stomped on the rule of law. An illegal referendum was forced through, on the back of a military intervention and the annexation of a sovereign territory. The world was led to believe that a referendum initiated by Russia can somehow excuse the forceful takeover of foreign land.
In the coming days and months, the world must continue to support the brave people who are not afraid to stand up against corrupt authoritarian regimes. In the name of Europe, in the name of its freedom and peace, we must all stand together.
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