By Azzah Mohamad Som
KUALA LUMPUR, March 5 (Bernama) -- Ukraine's envoy to Malaysia Ihor Humennyi says that preserving peace is very important not only to Ukraine but also to Europe in general.
Speaking on the Ukraine crisis, he said that the most important principle was "to preserve peace on the territory of Ukraine."
"If there are clashes, it could have very serious consequences for the peace and security of Europe in general, and maybe even more," the ambassador told Bernama, here Wednesday.
He was commenting on the tense situation in Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin was reported by foreign media as saying that Russia has the right to invade its neighbours.
International reports have stated that Ukraine's new government had placed its military on "high alert" after more than 6,000 Russian forces poured into the Crimean Peninsula on Sunday. The strategic Black Sea peninsula is part of Ukraine but used to be Russian territory.
"Until now, we manage not to have any violence and shootings. Our position is also very clear that there are no reasons for the Russian Federation to invade the territory of Ukraine," Humennyi said.
On Tuesday, reports said that Putin defended Russia's actions in Crimea and said that he would use force only as a last resort
Humennyi said that Ukraine is a multinational state with more than 100 nationalities living peacefully and in harmony for decades.
"We respect our historic, cultural, religious and ethnical ties with the Russian Federation and Russian people. Therefore, it was surprising that the Russian Federation alleges various actions against and threats to Russian-speaking population in Ukraine and its rights. The international community sees no evidence of that," he said.
Foreign reports have stated Putin as saying on Tuesday that Russia reserved the right to use all options to protect compatriots who were living in "terror" in Ukraine but that force was not needed for now.
"The international community are blaming the Russian Federation for the actions considered as aggression against my country and demand to stop intervention. At the recent meetings of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) the majority of its members publicly supported Ukraine, in particular, the US and the UK," the ambassador said.
He said that US Secretary of State John F. Kerry visited Ukraine's capital of Kiev on Tuesday to discuss the matter.
"Hopefully today there will be consultation among the UK, US and Ukraine," the ambassador said.
He also pointed out that it was also important for "pressure" to be placed on Russia, adding that Ukraine was getting the support from countries like the US, France, China, Turkey, New Zealand as well as majority of the countries in Europe.
Asked whether the crisis could impact trade between Malaysia and Ukraine, the ambassador said it could have negative effects but at the moment there was no such indication. Last year bilateral trade stood at US$650 million.
Meanwhile, the Global Movement of Moderates Foundation (GMMF) said in a statement on Tuesday that it viewed "with serious concern" the current situation in Ukraine.
It said that the continuing foreign military intervention in Ukraine is "against the conduct of international relations among United Nations member countries."
"We call on Russia to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the independent nation of Ukraine and remind Moscow to not contradict their commitment towards international laws and treaties," its chief executive officer Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said in the statement.
He said that GMMF believes in constructive and meaningful dialogue, for the preservation of independence, unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
"As concerned global citizens, we support the call by the United Nations and the European Union for the need to de-escalate the situation," Saifuddin said.