that only the Ukrainian people can decide that. And sergei is joining us now. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. The United States is making it clear that any diplomatic solution must include a pullback of... See More
that only the Ukrainian people can decide that. And sergei is joining us now. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. The United States is making it clear that any diplomatic solution must include a pullback of Russian troops from crimea. Is Russia prepared to meet that position? First of all, thank you for having me. Secondly, what kind of pullback from crimea are you talking about? We are now in the territory of the Russian Federation. There are a lot of things that have happened. And one has to be very realistic about it. There was an expressed will of people living in crimea to become a part of the Russian Federation at the moment when there was an unconstitutional takeover of power with the use of force in kiev. And they felt that this is the moment that this is threatening the way -- the life they wanted to conduct. So crimea is part of the Russian Federation, and -- How about eastern Ukraine, sir? Can you state unequivocally that Russian troops will not push into eastern Ukraine? Well, we have said so many times that we have no intent, no interest in crossing the border. But does that mean you won't do it? We are not planning to. We have our forces conducting the exercises in the territory of Russian Federation. I would like to remind you. In the territory of the Russian Federation. That is Normal exercise we are conducting. Moreover, we have offered transparency over the issue. And there were a number of overflies, including by our Ukrainian neighbors and friends just for them to see there was nothing that was happening that would be threatening to their interest. You heard president Obama label Russia as a regional power acting out of weakness. Your response? If you consider Russia a regional power, look at the region we are in. It's from Europe to Asia. It's a significant region in the first place. Secondly, I think those categorizations are artificial. We are a country with a lot of interest and things we can contribute throughout the world. But we certainly are not going to overstretch anyway. Will there be a diplomatic solution to the crisis? I hope so. And it is something we have been trying to work on for quite a long period of time. We have developed our own ideas. We understand what can be of help to the Ukrainian people. Because the biggest problem, and you need to remember this, is not between the Ukraine and Russia, it is between Ukrainian temporary government and the rest of the country. It's a country that certainly needs a revision of the constitution that would include a mechanism where the regions would be heard. And their views would be taken on board. And it is something that is important. And if the international community can help the Ukrainians to do this process, that would be helpful. Mr. Ambassador, thanks for your time this morning. Thank you very much.
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