Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Storey (Labour) condemns Russia’s crossing of the border into Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday recognized the eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk and Donetsk regions. He ordered Russian forces to enter Ukraine.
– The Norwegian Prime Minister said that the situation in Ukraine, Southeast Europe, is at a tragic level.
Norway condemns the fact that Russia crossed the border into Ukrainian territory.
– I would say that yesterday is a crossroads. The Russian President’s entry and recognition of parts of Ukraine as breakaway republics is considered an attack on Ukraine’s territorial integrity. That means it’s cutting and separating parts of the country, Store said at a news conference on Tuesday.
– Later in the evening, the Prime Minister said, Russian forces entered these areas in eastern Ukraine, in accordance with international law on Ukrainian territory.
Subsequently, the Prime Minister’s Office stated that Store did not intend to state that Russian forces were indeed in Ukraine, but should indicate that Putin had announced that he would send troops.
Store says Norway will join the sanctions planned by the European Union, which have nothing to do with its own.
– Store says it’s important to have a fairly firm reaction to what happened in the past 24 hours.
This is how he explains the situation
– It is a rhetoric that actually rejects Ukraine’s right to be a historically independent country. Store says it can be interpreted as preparing the groundwork for Russia to act on it.
He noted that the Russian Foreign Minister said this on Tuesday Ukraine has no right to sovereignty, because it does not represent the entire people who live on its territory.
– It is a very dangerous development that we must say very clearly that we condemn. We view it as a violation of important parts of international law and a situation that raises concern about what might happen.
He says there are different ways of interpreting Russian actions. In similar situations, Putin has moved “in small steps”.
– It may mean that what is happening now in eastern Ukraine is a situation that continues, as Store points out, but at the same time says:
– It may also happen that when 150,000 soldiers and heavy equipment are assembled on the borders of Ukraine, greater steps may be taken. In any case, there is reason to suppose that Russian thinking is about weakening Ukraine as a state and possibly going even further, to a complete conquest of Ukraine as a state, says Store.
It is clear that this agreement has been set aside
So the question is what this means for diplomatic negotiations.
Senior researcher Tor Bokful at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment indicated on Tuesday that there is no point in negotiating anything else about the Minsk agreements when These two regions were recognized as independent states.
– Norway is not a party to this agreement, so I have to comment on it from the outside, says Store.
But he notes that the Minsk agreements were based on the fact that these two regions are part of Ukraine.
– With what happened yesterday, it is clear that this agreement has been set aside. In a situation where these parts of Ukraine are being taken out and said to be independent republics that the world must recognize, it is very difficult to imagine the preconditions for solutions within the Minsk formula, says Store.
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