Kyiv, April 9th, 2014 – Simon Smith, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Great Britain to Ukraine, Ukrainian Crisis Media Centre
The Ambassador Simon Smith starts with a very firm premise: “With the departure of the Yanukovich administration a new opportunity opened for Ukraine, an opportunity to get things right in terms of building strong and successful Ukraine for the future. Based on that rationale we have been very keen to engage very closely with the new administration. British government is very serious about its commitment to support the effort of building a new, strong, successful Ukraine and we have made clear that we will do this in terms of large scale macro-initiatives; we have been through the issue of IMF budgetary support to Ukraine. Also we will provide our expertise and advice at the disposal of Ukrainian government”.
Mr. Smith says British government observes that Russia during the past two weeks has made many efforts to destabilize the work of Ukrainian administration; they have seen illegal annexation of Crimea. He added that the government has shown very actively strong condemnation of Russian actions and they regret that Russian part has made no effort on de-escalation of the conflict.
Speaking about the current situation in Ukraine Mr. Smith commented: “We are particularly concerned about the situation in Eastern regions of Ukraine. We observed that the number of government buildings have been stormed by the purportedly pro Russian protesters. I have heard and seen that they have been inspired from across the Russian border. We have made it clear that what we expect from Russia is de-escalation of the conflict, but unfortunately we still see Russian troops on the Ukrainian border”.
Mr. Smith has also said that there will be serious consequences of current Russian policy for Ukraine. He admits they impose sanctions not because it is fun, and they are prepared to carry the costs which EU countries will incur because otherwise they understand it’s about international security and infringement of international law. Ambassador added that David Cameron is perfectly aware of the serious substance of UK-Russian economical relationships but the British government wants to be confident it works with the partner who respects international law.
Mr. Smith declared: “We are looking at how the situation is developing further. Purely and simply, if there is no evidence Russia has taken actions to deescalate the conflict in coming two weeks we will progress further down the sanctions track”.
The Ambassador confirmed that the Great Britain is committed to provide Ukraine with £ 10 million for immediate help.
Simon John Meredith Smith is a British diplomat. He joined Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service in 1986. He has held positions in London, Tokyo, and as Counsellor (Economic/Commercial) in Moscow 1998–2002. His transfer to Kiev as Ambassador to Ukraine was announced in October 2011.