August 11, 2009
The message from President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev to President of Ukraine Victor Yushchenko reads, in part:
“Problems in bilateral cooperation have, of course, existed before. This was natural following the disintegration of the Soviet Union, when we had to develop relations between two sovereign states. However, what we have witnessed during the years of your presidency cannot be interpreted as anything other than the Ukrainian party's departure from the principles of friendship and partnership with Russia, embodied in the Treaty of 1997 [Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Russia and Ukraine]. I already wrote to you about this in November last year and the situation has not improved, but rather degraded.
Let me cite a few examples that characterise the current state of affairs created by the conscious actions of your administration.
A negative public reaction was caused by Ukraine's anti-Russian stance in connection with the brutal attack on South Ossetia by Saakashvili's regime. A year after those tragic events, once again the question of why civilians and Russian peacekeepers in Tskhinval were killed with Ukrainian weapons has arisen. Those in Kiev who supplied the Georgian army with weapons and, by the way, do not intend to stop doing so, fully share with Tbilisi the responsibility for the committed crimes.
Ignoring the views of Ukrainian citizens as well as Russia's well-known position, the political leadership of Ukraine stubbornly continues to pursue accession to NATO. And as a so-called argument you hint at a “Russian threat” to Ukrainian security, something which, as you are well aware, does not and cannot exist. Unfortunately, the logical continuation of this destructive reasoning is the incessant attempts to complicate the activities of Russia's Black Sea Fleet in violation of the fundamental agreements between our countries governing the parameters of its base in Ukraine.
At the same time, it seems that Kiev has consistently sought to sever existing economic ties with Russia, primarily in the field of energy. These actions threaten the ability of our countries to reliably use what is, in fact, a unified gas transmission system that ensures the energy security of Russia, Ukraine and many European nations.
Despite our repeated appeals at various levels, virtually nothing has been done to stop the violation of property rights of Russian investors in Ukraine. All this has essentially undermined the formerly solid economic foundations of our bilateral partnership.
Russian-Ukrainian relations have been further tested as a result of your administration's willingness to engage in historical revisionism, its heroization of Nazi collaborators, exaltation of the role played by radical nationalists, and imposition among the international community of a nationalistic interpretation of the mass famine of 1932-1933 in the USSR, calling it the “genocide of the Ukrainian people”. The ousting of the Russian language from public life, science, education, culture, media and judicial proceedings continues.
In this context, the harmful practices of intervention by the government of Ukraine in the affairs of the Orthodox Church beg attention. The conditions that were created artificially on the eve and during a recent pastoral visit to Ukraine by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia could hardly be described as favourable. Against this background, it is particularly gratifying to see the genuine and broad support for the unity of Orthodoxy demonstrated by Ukrainians who welcomed the Patriarch.
Among the obstacles that authorities accountable to you have devised to hinder the positive development of Russian-Ukrainian relations is the provocation, unprecedented in the entire post-Soviet space, by expelling two of our diplomatic representatives from Ukraine without any justification. This attack – that incidentally, immediately preceded the Patriarch's visit – conveys the essence of the current Ukrainian authorities' approach to relations with Russia. Naturally, we could not but retaliate to this unfriendly measure.
I would like to inform you that in view of the anti-Russian position of the current Ukrainian authorities I have decided to postpone sending a new Russian ambassador to Ukraine. Specific dates will be determined later in light of the future development of Russian-Ukrainian relations.
For Russia, from time immemorial Ukrainians have been and remain not just neighbours, but also a fraternal people for whom we will always cherish the very best feelings, with whom we share a common history, culture and religion, ties stemming from close economic cooperation, and strong kinship and human relations.
I am convinced that the leadership of Russia and Ukraine is obliged to cherish these neighbourly feelings, this wealth that is also our common competitive advantage in a globalising world. The challenge of responsible public figures is to resist the temptation to artificially divide our peoples for any geopolitical projects or political machinations, but rather safeguard the friendship between Ukrainians and Russians in every possible way, strengthen the foundations of our cooperation for the mutual benefit and prosperity of our countries. It is unacceptable to subject centuries-old relations to such serious tests for the sake of short-term developments, thereby encouraging younger generations to harbour a mutual grudge by playing with nationalist complexes.
In Russia we hope that the new political leadership of Ukraine will be ready to build relations between our countries that correspond to the genuine aspirations of our peoples and help strengthen European security.”