Updated at 15:34,14-12-2017

Ukrainian envoy in Belarus describes govt in Kyiv as legitimate, slams Russia

Belsat / BelaPAN

The new government is Kyiv is legitimate, Ukrainian Ambassador Mykhailo Yezhel told reporters in Minsk on Wednesday.

We view our government as legitimate, we serve the people of Ukraine and represent their interests here, he said.

Speaking about the invasion of Crimea by Russian troops, Mr Yezhel said that neither an appeal to the Russian president by Serhiy Aksyonov, who had been appointed Crimeas prime minister by its parliament, nor a letter by Viktor Yanukovych asking Russia to send its troops to Ukraine could justify Russias military operation. Mr Yezhel stressed that the international community had condemned it as an act of aggression.

He accused Russia of making a deliberate effort to destabilize the situation in Crimea and putting pressure on Ukrainian army officers to break their vows of allegiance to the Ukrainian people, lay down their arms and defect to the 'illegally elected' government of Crimea.

As a former defense minister, Im proud of the behavior of military officers and navy sailors of Ukraine, Mr. Yezhel said. Im proud of our soldiers and commissioned officers who are standing up for the country today. They wont give up arms under any circumstances and will fight to the bitter end.

Mr Yezhel stressed that the Russian troops should be withdrawn from Ukraine and expressed hope that there will be enough political will and sense to prevent bloodshed.

Mr Yezhel slammed Russian television networks for what he called their biased coverage of the developments in Ukraine. Sometimes its simply impossible to watch some channels without Validolum [medicine], he said. Its difficult to imagine such sarcasm and cynicism regarding a brotherly nation.