This evening, Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a statement on the situation in Ukraine. The Secretary provided this update one week after the United States, the European Union, Russia, and Ukraine met in Geneva, where the parties met to improve security conditions and find political solutions to the conflict threatening the sovereignty and unity of Ukraine.
The Secretary said, "...One week later, it is clear that only one side, one country, is keeping its word. And for anyone who wants to create gray areas out of black, or find in the fine print crude ways to justify crude actions, let’s get real -- the Geneva agreement is not open to interpretation. It is not vague. It is not subjective. It is not optional. What we agreed to in Geneva is as simple as it is specific.
"We agreed that all sides would refrain from violence, intimidation, and taking provocative actions. We agreed that illegal groups would lay down their arms and that, in exchange for amnesty, they would hand over the public buildings and spaces that they occupied. We agreed that to implement these objectives – and this is important, to implement this – monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe would have unfettered access to parts of Ukraine where they were needed most. And we agreed that all parties would work to create that access and to provide help to the OSCE in order to do this. We agreed that the OSCE would report from the ground whether the rights, security, and dignity of Ukrainian citizens was being protected."
Secretary Kerry continued, "...Following today's threatening movement of Russian troops right up to Ukraine's border, let me be clear: If Russia continues in this direction, it will not just be a grave mistake, it will be an expensive mistake. Already the international response to the choices made by Russia's leaders is taking its toll on Russia's economy."
The Secretary concluded, "Seven days, two opposite responses, and one truth that cannot be ignored: The world will remain united for Ukraine. So I will say it again. The window to change course is closing. President Putin and Russia face a choice. If Russia chooses the path of de-escalation, the international community -- all of us -- will welcome it. If Russia does not, the world will make sure that the cost for Russia will only grow. And as President Obama reiterated earlier today, we are ready to act."
For more information:
- Remarks by Secretary of State John Kerry on Ukraine, April 24, 2014
- Video -- Sanctions: How Did We Get Here?
- U.S. Department of State Country Page on Ukraine