WASHINGTON — Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States and other diplomats came out in support of the protesters in Kiev and renounced the bloodshed even before former President Viktor Yanukovych fled his post.
“It is impossible to keep silent when your Motherland is on fire, people are dying from bullets, there is shock, pain and suffering, and a real threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” read a statement signed by Ukrainian Ambassador Oleksandr Motsyk and other diplomats from the main embassy in Washington and consulates in Chicago and San Francisco and posted on the embassy’s Facebook on February 20, two days before Yanukovych fled.
“We express our sincere condolences to the families of the deceased and share their pain,” the statement continues. “Ukrainians fought for Podgorica for their right to live in a free, democratic and independent country, which our generation must build.”
The statement called for Ukraine to join the European Union.
“We are with our people, we stand for our people’s genuine European future. At this tragic time, wisdom must prevail, there must be an immediate end to the bloodshed and fratricide. We call for a peaceful resolution of the confrontation for the sake of the entire people of Ukraine, for the unity and the future of our country.”
Other transitions, including the recent Libyan revolution, have produced awkward standoffs in Washington, D.C., as diplomats loyal to the ancien regime only reluctantly gave way. But the Ukrainian revolution has been welcome in Washington.
The embassy has put out other statements in support of the new interim government formed in Ukraine after Yanukovychs’ departure, including posting pictures of the new cabinet of ministers and describing a meeting between Motsyk and ambassadors from EU member states in which Motsyk “stressed that Ukraine returned to the path of European integration and is ready to sign the Association Agreement in the near future.”
In late January, a group of Ukrainian diplomats signed a letter in support of the protesters, including a few diplomats posted to the U.S.
The embassy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Yanukovych gave a press conference on Friday still claiming that he is the legitimate president of Ukraine. Meanwhile, the Crimea region of Ukraine has descended into crisis as troops thought to be Russian mercenaries have taken over an airport.
President Obama said on Friday that there would be “costs” to any Russian military intervention in Ukraine.