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President Petro Poroshenko could not be more clear when he spoke about Crimea:
I will use my diplomatic experience to ensure the signature of an international agreement that would replace the Budapest Memorandum.
Such agreement must provide direct and reliable guarantees of peace and security – up to military support in case of threat to territorial integrity.
Any aggressor on the border of Ukraine must remember the saying from the Gospel: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
Citizens of Ukraine will never enjoy the beauty of peace unless we settle down our relations with Russia.
Russia occupied Crimea, which was, is, and will be Ukrainian soil.
Yesterday, in the course of the meeting in Normandy, I told this to President Putin – Crimea is Ukrainian soil. Period!
There can be no compromise in the issues on Crimea,
European choice and state structure.
Anything else shall be discussed and negotiated.
Any attempts of external and internal enslavement of Ukrainians meet and will meet the most determined resistance.
We want to be free.
But Crimea’s def facto leaders have fired back. RFE/RL reports:
De facto Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov said: “Crimea will never be part of Ukraine. That phase, undoubtedly, has passed.”
He added that Crimea has its own defense forces that “will be ready to fulfill any orders from the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.”
De facto Crimean parliament speaker Vladimir Konstantinov said that Poroshenko and the Ukrainian authorities are “activating Western technologies with only one goal — to create conflict between the Ukrainian and the Russian peoples” for their own profit.
Petro Poroshenko has officially become Ukraine’s President today, as he was sworn in in front of dignitaries and Ukrainian officials. He said that the unity of Ukraine was the most important goal of his administration. He also offered a roadmap to peace, and offered amnesty to any who did not already have blood on their hands:
I become a President to preserve and strengthen the unity of Ukraine.
To ensure lasting peace and guarantee reliable security.
I know: peace is the main thing aspired by the people of Ukraine today.
The Head of State has a wide choice of various instruments to ensure territorial integrity of Ukraine and peaceful life of citizens.
I will have enough powers and determination. I do not want war. I do not want revenge. Even though there are great sacrifices of the people of Ukraine before my eyes.
I want peace and I will secure the unity of Ukraine. Thus, I begin my work offering a peaceful plan.
I strongly urge everyone who illegally took weapons in their hands to lay them down.
In response, I first of all guarantee the exemption from criminal responsibility for those who do not have blood of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians on their hands.
And those who is not involved in funding terrorism.
Second, controlled corridor for Russian mercenaries who would like to return home.
Third, peaceful dialogue.
Certainly, not with “strielky”, “abvery”, “bisy” and other criminals.
I am speaking of the dialogue with peaceful citizens of Ukraine.
Even with those who have different opinion on the future of Ukraine. Today, I would like to address compatriots from Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Dear our brothers and sisters, compatriots!
Many of you have already felt the “pleasures” of the rule of terrorists.
In addition to pillage and abuse of civilians, they led the economy of the region, which has already been in crisis conditions, to the brink of total disaster.
But under no circumstances will we leave you in the lurch.
He also vowed to retake Crimea.
The full transcript of his speech, in English, is available here.