Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin says Europe's betrayal when the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) unconditionally let Russia return to the organization "hurts all of us," but he rebuts rumors of secret agreements on the release of Ukrainian sailors in exchange for Russia's reinstatement.
"Many write about a probable deal between Europe and Russia, i.e. Russia's return to the PACE for the possible release of our hostages. Europe's betrayal hurts all of us. But do not go for it. Do not look for such kind of 'logical' excuses. Moreover, everybody has heard what the Russian president said in Osaka, Japan," Klimkin wrote on Facebook on Saturday evening.
"In fact, the main problem is not even this one. The worst thing will be if Russia and Europe decide that they can come to terms behind our back and try to impose a different strategy and tactics on us," he said.
According to him, even now one can hear that Ukraine is a common neighborhood of Russia and Europe, "a shared responsibility, so there must be a joint action."
"In fact, these will be Russia's actions, and Europe will be watching," he said. "Unfortunately, the new team's lack of experience contributes to this."
"And before you know it, they will try to serve up an explicit capitulation as a long-awaited victory. If this happens, we'll find ourselves in the gray buffer zone for two generations," the minister warned.
The minister says only Ukrainians should decide on Ukraine's future. "And solutions – no matter how complex they could be – must be chosen by us. Others will help us only if we have our own stand and a strong, very strong will to defend our position," he said.
"All in all, no one but us, Ukrainians, could make Ukraine truly independent and successful. And I do not want anyone – whoever they are – to decide our future for us," he added.
As was reported, the PACE on June 26, 2019, lifted sanctions from Russia, which were in effect since 2014 over the annexation of Ukraine's Crimea. All the powers of the Russian delegation to the PACE were reinstated in full.
Russia captured 24 Ukrainian sailors and three naval vessels in the international waters near the Kerch Strait in November 2018. They remain the Kremlin's prisoners despite a ruling by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea that the sailors should be freed before June 25, 2019.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said amid the G20 summit in Osaka that the situation around the Ukrainian sailors was in no way linked with the return of the Russian delegation to the PACE.