Washington: A top US presidential aide has said the current crisis in Ukraine should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy, even as President Vladimir Putin signed a law formally absorbing Crimea into Russia.
"We have expressed equally clearly our opposition to his invasion and annexation of Crimea, and the further provocative steps that he has taken with regard to Ukraine," US National Security Advisor Susan Rice told reporters yesterday.
"Our view is that this situation can and should be de-escalated. It should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy. We still believe it can be if that choice is the choice that the Russian Federation makes, and we`ll continue our efforts," she said in response to a question.
Rice said the top American leadership including President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and herself are on constant contact with key regional and global allies and friends, in addition to the Ukrainian leadership, on this issue.
"I will say that what Hagel has been doing, staying in close consultation with his Ukrainian counterpart, very similarly to what Secretary Kerry has been doing with Prime Minister Yatsenyuk and the foreign minister of Ukraine, is part of our ongoing effort to show support and partnership to the people and the government of Ukraine. That support takes the form of political and diplomatic support, of course much increased economic support," she said.
Describing the current crisis in Ukraine as "worrying and fragile", she said the US has been very much admiring of the posture that the Ukrainian people and government have taken.
"We have Europe, the United States, and many other countries outside of Europe coming together to impose economic costs on Russia and to indicate that those costs will escalate if the situation on the ground escalates," she said.
Meanwhile, President Putin signed the legislation to absorb the Ukrainian territory into the Russian Federation, in a ceremony held in the Kremlin and broadcast on national television yesterday.
This came just hours after the upper house of parliament approved the bills, and a day after the lower house Duma passed the legislation.
Russian envoy to the UN Vitaly Churkin has said the incorporation of Crimea and the successful hosting of Sochi Olympics shows that his country is on the rise.
"We are much more pragmatic than messianic. I think Russia is on the rise," he told PBS`s Charlie Rose show.
"The fact that Crimea has been incorporated into Russia, now reflecting the very strong historical will of the people is another element of that spiritual, if you will, rise of Russia, along with the Sochi Olympics, which were extremely successful, despite all the doom and gloom predictions which were prevalent in the US media," he argued.
Responding to a question, Churkin argued in favor of a federation in Ukraine.
"Crimea is out of the picture now, but all the regions in Ukraine, including the eastern and southeastern regions, which are very restive because of what they see in Kiev...They should discuss a new constitution maybe federalize Ukraine."
He insisted that Russian would not leave Ukraine alone.