WASHINGTON — The Ukrainian demonstrations have enraged Russia, which said that these “aggressive actions” by the Ukrainian people were unacceptable.
Reuters reported that Russia felt the EU’s response to the demonstrations was an overreach and that outsiders from the West should not interfere in Ukrainian affairs.
Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovich, backed out of a potentially historic trade pact with the European Union after being pressured by Russia. The Russian government threatened that it will lessen or cut off gas and oil shipments to their former Soviet republic. Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said, “I do not quite understand the scope of the aggressive actions on the part of the opposition”.
He went on to say the Ukrainian government exercised its sovereignty in not completing the trade pact. He said, “I hope that Ukrainian politicians will be able to bring the situation into a peaceful vein. We encourage everybody not to interfere”.
Protests have rocked the capital city of Kiev as protesters have resisted the police forces sent to stop them. They want to align Ukraine more with the West than Russia, something that Russia does not like.
NATO foreign ministers criticized Ukrainian policemen who used batons and stun grenades against demonstrators and condemned the “excessive force” used to dispel demonstrators, to which Lavrov said he did not like or understand “why NATO adopts such statements”.
Georgia, another former Soviet republic, said it will go through with its pro-Western plans to strengthen ties with Europe and split away from Russian influence.