World Bulletin/News Desk
Ukraine's interim government has opened its doors to "dialogue with all" in a bid to settle the crisis in the eastern regions, Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov has said.
Speaking at the first all-Ukrainian round-table parliament meeting on Wednesday aimed at resolving turmoil in the east and south regions, Acting President and Verkhovna Rada Chairman Oleksandr Turchynov said Kiev was also in favor of introducing "systematic changes" to the country's administrative system.
"We are ready to enter dialogue and listen to all," he said in his opening remarks at the meeting.
He said the priority for Kiev's authorities was not only to restart the functioning of state institutions, but to develop Ukraine into a European country and democratic community where all citizens could feel important regardless of their region, language and faith.
- 'Slinky offensives'
Turchynov stated that the annexation of the Crimean peninsula into the Russian Federation had cost Ukraine about US$100 billion.
"Unless we have more slinky military offensives from Russia, Ukraine can regain its stability more quickly," he said.
Turchynov said that Moscow was conducting activities aimed at destabilizing Ukraine's southern and eastern regions, saying they had failed in regions such as Kharkov, Odessa, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporojye, Khersonsk and Nikolayevsk.
Regarding the situation in Donetsk and Luhansk, where people had voted in favor of self-rule and to break away from Ukraine in Sunday's referendum, he said the polls were "illegal" and said "anti-terror operations" would continue to protect citizens and return life to normal.
- 'Open doors'
"Our doors are always open to dialogue. But there is no need to shoot, overrun or occupy buildings to make your voice heard. Both the Verkhovna Rada and the government are ready to make systematic changes to the administrative system, especially in local governance," he added.
Turchynov stressed that the dialogue for the planned changes must be within the limits of law, and that the law and constitution would be enforced against those who engage in an armed fight against their own country.
"We will not let acts of terrorism to be carried out against all the country, including Donetsk and Luhansk," he said.
The all-Ukrainian national unity talks were first announced on 8 May by Interim President Turchynov and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who said they were ready to negotiate only with "those who pursue legitimate political goals and defend them by legal means, and have no blood on their hands."
- Buildings occupied
Wednesday's meeting was also attended by former Presidents Leonid Kravchuk and Leonid Kuchma, Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, Verkhovna Rada Deputy Chairman Ruslan Koshulinsky, presidential candidates Sergey Tigipko, Renat Kuzmin and Yuliya Timoshenko, parliament members and leaders of religious sects, along with foreign ambassadors and diplomats.
Pro-Russian separatists calling themselves the People's Republic of Donetsk declared victory in Sunday's referendum for a federation in eastern Ukraine, while they continue to occupy the state buildings in a bid to "reunite' the two eastern regions with Russia.
On 15 April, Ukrainian forces launched operations against separatist militias in the Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine, with U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel supporting the Ukraine government and describing the actions as “anti-terror operations".
In a statement issued by Luhansk's Regional Council, they asked the Kiev authorities to stop punitive operations against pro-Russia separatists and called for a hostage-exchange deal between Russia and Kiev.Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Mayıs 2014, 11:44