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Igor Ivanov

President of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (1998–2004)

Ukraine is now at the crossroads of history, Russia’s former Foreign Minister and now President of the Russian Council on International Affairs Igor Ivanov says in an article published in Wednesday’s issues of the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily.

So far, the Kiev authorities’ pledges to opt for a European path, in his opinion, are mere rhetoric. “Before ‘moving to Europe’ or elsewhere, Ukraine should fulfill itself as a country and as society,” Ivanov writes.

“Of course, chief responsibility for finding a way out of the Ukrainian crisis rests first of all on those politicians who came to power in Ukraine,” he says and asks where these people are capable of coping with this historic task on their own. According to Ivanov, they can’t - the current Kiev authorities “have neither proper legitimacy, nor corresponding institutions, nor necessary resources.” “And what matters most, they have no confidence from at least some part of the populations,” he believes.

Ukraine, in his words, has two choices - either to embark on a long and painful road of gradual restoration of national unity, finding solutions to socio-economic problems, pursuing a well-balanced foreign policy, or it will have to be a might-have-been state with all grave consequences it entails for Ukraine itself and for the entire Europe.

Ivanov sounds skeptical about the European Union’s ability to bear the burden of being Ukraine’s rescuer. “Judging by the first reaction, the majority of Europeans are aghast at the prospects of having to pay Ukraine’s debts,” he underscores, adding that in a situation like this Ukraine can be saved only through pooled efforts of the international community.

“The Ukrainian crisis has long splashed beyond the boundaries of that country and is rapidly acquiring the shape of the recent Balkan tragedy,” Ivanov writes. “The scale of the tragedy cries for an emergency top-level conference on Ukraine. It should be held under the auspices of the United Nations or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and involve Ukraine, Russia, leading European countries, and the United States. The agenda should have one very concrete question - how to save Ukraine together.”

The conference, in his words, should yield a detailed comprehensive roadmap on how to get out of the crisis. It should envisage top priority tasks, the schedule of foreign assistance and strict external control over the implementation of agreements reached.

Source: ITAR-TASS

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