The Prime Ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary--member nations of the Visegrad Group or 'V4' --issued the following statement on March 4, 2014, nearly two weeks before the sham Crimean referendum and more than a month before the recent neo-Soviet acts of aggression against Ukraine.
The Prime Ministers of the Visegrad countries are deeply concerned about the recent violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and the fact that the Russian parliament has authorized military action on Ukrainian soil against the wishes of the Ukrainian Government. This represents a serious escalation. We condemn all action threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and call on to decrease the tensions immediately through dialogue, in full respect of Ukrainian and international law and in line with the provisions of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum.
The Visegrad countries believe that the recent military actions by Russia are not only in violation of international law, but also create a dangerous new reality in Europe. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia are appalled to witness a military intervention in 21st century Europe akin to their own experiences in 1956, 1968 and 1981.
The Prime Ministers of the Visegrad countries call on Russia to respect its international commitments and legal obligations, including the Budapest Memorandum. We have always recognized historical ties between Russia and Ukraine. Their specific character implies due respect to the legitimate rights of Russian minority population. Nevertheless, any related concerns must be addressed peacefully, through engagement with the government of Ukraine and under the auspices of relevant international organizations, especially that of the OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe].
The Visegrad countries are in solidarity with the people and the Government of Ukraine and reiterate their strong commitment to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. It is more important than ever to ensure that the Government takes measures which unify the country, and that it protects the rights of all Ukraine’s citizens, including those of cultural, national and linguistic minority groups, in the spirit of inclusiveness.
The European Union and NATO should demonstrate solidarity with and assist Ukraine in this difficult moment and stand united in the face of this dangerous development threatening European peace and security.For more on the Visegrad Group, see my post of last May.