Merkel says Russia has sought to exploit weakened Ukraine
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a speech in parliament on Thursday that instead of acting as a partner for stability in the Ukraine crisis, Russia had sought to exploit the weakness of its neighbor, Reuters reported.
"The territorial integrity of Ukraine cannot be called into question," she said, making clear that the situation in Ukraine's southern region of Crimea was not comparable to the case of Kosovo in the Balkans.
As a result of protests in Ukraine, the country's President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted on Feb. 22. The Verkhovna Rada (parliament) has approved the new composition of the parliament and is preparing to hold pre-term elections.
On Feb. 26 several thousand people participating in two rallies gathered in front of Supreme Council of Crimea. After the escalation of the protest actions in Crimea, the Federation Council supported President Vladimir Putin's appeal regarding the use of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine pending "the normalization of the socio-political situation in that country".
Leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and the U.S., as well as chairman of the European Council and the chairman of the European Commission made a joint statement condemning Russia's position on Ukraine and canceled the preparations for the G8 summit in Sochi, scheduled for June 2014.