Further Diplomatic Efforts Needed To Cool Down The Ukraine Crisis

While the western media, led by the anti-Russia neo-cons, are busy instigating a full-fledged conflict with Russia over Ukraine, some diplomatic efforts are afoot to try to cool down the situation. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will be visiting Beijing on April 15. He will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and negotiate with Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on April 13. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, addressing a joint press briefing with visiting German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said:

“We have noticed that Russia, the United States, the European Union and Ukraine are preparing for talks in the near future, which is in tune with the China-proposed direction. We wish it a success.”

He was referring the scheduled April 17 quadripartite meeting among the U.S., Russia, the EU and Ukraine.

At an event commemorating WWI at Berlin’s French Cathedral, a symbol of Franco-German friendship, Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s vice chancellor, said today the crisis in Ukraine demands “more, not less diplomacy” from Europe, and added that “sabre-rattling by NATO” wouldn’t solve the problem. France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls called the Ukraine crisis “probably the greatest risk to peace and stability in Europe since the Iron Curtain came down.”

At the 28-member European Union foreign ministers meeting held today in Luxembourg, there was talk of additional trade sanctions against Russia, and plenty of verbal belligerence towards them as well. But it appears that nothing will be decided before the upcoming April 17 quadripartite meeting.

Britain, however, entered that EU meeting loaded for bear. Foreign Secretary William Hague said the well-coordinated actions of armed pro-Russian groups in eastern Ukraine during the previous 48 hours left no real doubt “this is something that is being planned and brought about by Russia.” Earlier, he told reporters that he would be arguing today that “further sanctions have to be the response to Russia’s behavior.”

In addition, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has scheduled to visit Kiev on April 21—a week from today. Responding to Biden’s proposed visit, in his April 13 address to the UN Security Council, the Russian envoy, Vitaly Churkin, made note of the scheduled trip and said:

“Maybe, he, Vice President Biden, will pick up the phone and call Mr. Turchinov [president of Ukraine], as he numerously called Mr. Yanukovich before Feb 21. Just call to tell Mr. Turchinov the same thing he told Mr. Yanukovich. He told him, as the press service of the vice president reported: ‘For God’s sake, don’t use force, get rid of your security forces from central Kiev.'”

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