Foreign ministry statement condemns Ukrainian invasion

Costa Rica has expressed its extreme preoccupation with the situation in the Ukraine.

The foreign ministry said Tuesday that the country suffered a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity by foreign forces.  The ministry stopped short of naming Russia as the invader.

The ministry statement said that Costa Rica does not consider that any justification exists for this action and condemns it.

The statement called for dialogue by the parties involved in the dispute and expressed the hope that the U.N. Security Council would impose peace.

The North American Treaty Organization and Russia have agreed to meet today for talks on the crisis in Ukraine.  That meeting, in Brussels, will be the first public contact between the Western defense alliance and Russia’s envoys since its forces moved into Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula late last week.

NATO announced the extraordinary session Tuesday, saying it was requested by Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The alliance offered no further details.

Members of NATO met earlier Tuesday at the request of Poland, which shares a border with Ukraine.  Afterward, the alliance said the Russian military presence in Ukraine presents serious implications for the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic area.”

U.S. President Barack Obama Tuesday called on Russia to open talks with the Ukraine’s interim government and to allow international monitors to determine whether ethnic Russians in Ukraine are under threat, as alleged by Moscow.

Obama spoke in Washington, following a news conference in Moscow by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader defended his country’s military intervention in the Crimean peninsula last week, saying he reserves the right to protect Russians in Ukraine. But he also insisted that gunmen blocking Ukrainian military units in the region are local self-defense forces, not Russian soldiers.

President Obama countered that Moscow has no legal right to intervene militarily, while acknowledging that Putin “seems to have a different set of lawyers making a different set of interpretations.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the United States would prefer to de-escalate tensions with Russia over Ukraine.

Kerry, who visited Kyiv Tuesday, met Ukraine’s interim leaders and announced a $1 billion economic package and technical assistance for the new government.

He also condemned the presence of Russian troops in Crimea as an act of aggression.

Meeting with reporters while in Kyiv, Kerry said diplomacy and respect for sovereignty, not unilateral force, can best resolve the dispute over Ukraine.

European Union foreign ministers have issued a Thursday deadline for Putin to pull back his troops or face punitive measures.
The Russian Foreign Ministry warned that Moscow would retaliate against any sanctions.

Crimea is a Black Sea peninsula placed under Ukrainian control in 1954 by then-Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. It remained part of Ukraine when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

Crimea has a tiny border with Russia on its far eastern point, and the Crimean port of Sevastapol is home to Russia’s Black Sea fleet. Most of the people living in Crimea are ethnic Russians, but the region also is home to ethnic Muslim Tatars, who generally show disdain for Russia.

Ukraine’s troubles began in November, when President Viktor Yanukovych backed out of a trade deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties and economic aid from Russia. The move triggered weeks of pro-Western anti-government demonstrations in Kyiv and elsewhere in Ukraine, and forced the pro-Russian Yanukovych to flee the capital in late February.

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