Monday, 17 March 2014

A diplomatic solution must take account of the wishes of the people of Crimea

The resolve of the US and EU to ignore the wishes of the Crimean people is arrogant and inconsistent. I am no fan of Mr Putin or Mr Putin's Russia. Far from it. But my view of the Russian regime does not blind me to the clear expression of the overwhelmingly Russian-speaking people of Crimea to be part of Russia. To ignore that is to have a very one-sided view of what William Hague and others call 'legitimacy'. If it is legitimate for an uprising in Kiev to overthrow the regime in Ukraine then it must surely be so for the crowds of people who are now celebrating the outcome of their referendum in the Crimea. 

President Obama says he wants a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis. But a diplomatic solution will have to take account of the genuine concerns of Russia about the instability on its doorstep where it has major strategic interests. 

There is something unfortunately vague about the British foreign secretary's stance on the events in Crimea. He knows that a diplomatic solution must take account of the wishes of the people of Crimea. We may not wish to be where we are now. The fact is we are, and to ignore those wishes would be to deny the people of Crimea the rights that should be upheld by international bodies. 

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