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“There have been reasons for today’s situation in Ukraine,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said when responding to a question on China’s stance after Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, authorized President Vladimir Putin to use military forces to protect Russian citizens and soldiers in Ukrainian territory.
“China is deeply concerned with the current Ukraine situation,” added Gang urging all sides to seek a political solution.
Meanwhile, after a phone conversation between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his counterpart Wang Yi, a Russian Foreign Ministry statement welcomed “the coincidence of Russia’s and China’s positions on the situation in Ukraine”.
“The foreign ministers of both countries exchanged views on the situation in Ukraine. They noted the coincidence of positions on this aspect,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Crimean authorities said that most of the Ukrainian units sided on Sunday with pro-Russian forces “without a single shot fired”.
Putin had earlier spoken to German Chancellor Merkel in which he accepted Merkel’s proposal to immediately set up a “fact finding mission” and a contact group in order to start a political dialogue.
“Putin drew the Federal Chancellor’s attention to the unrelenting threat of violence by ultra-nationalist forces, endangering the lives and legitimate interests of Russian citizens and the entire Russian-speaking population,” said a Kremlin statement.
Putin, who is the Supreme Commander of the Russian Armed Forces, has not yet ordered the deployment of a “limited military contingent” in Ukraine, but said in telephone conversations with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and US President Barack Obama early on Sunday that Moscow reserved the right to protect its own interests and those of Russian speakers in the event of violence breaking out in eastern Ukraine and Crimea.
Crimea is an autonomous republic within Ukraine where Moscow has a naval base. The 2001 Ukrainian Census figures show 58.3 per cent of the Crimean population are ethnic Russians.
TBP and Agencies