FOREIGN AFFAIRS – UKRAINE – 4 March 2014

Dr Julian Lewis: Does the Foreign Secretary accept that part of the problem is that Ukraine is a deeply divided society, in which both sides have, at one time or another, played winner-takes-all? He talks, rightly, about the importance of maintaining a unified Ukraine. Does he agree with the conclusion of Professor Anatol Lieven that

"the only way to keep Ukraine together may be the introduction of a new federal constitution with much greater powers for the different regions"?

[The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr William Hague): My hon. Friend makes a valid point. It is for Ukrainians to decide their constitutional structure. I am simply advocating the idea that they should make their decisions in accordance with their constitution. It is a country in which there is a strong case for more decentralisation. There is also a strong case, strategically, for turning away from a winner-takes-all attitude in politics. I have gone out of my way to stress to Russia that we do not see the situation in zero-sum terms. Although we welcome close ties between Ukraine and the European Union, we recognise that Russia has entirely legitimate interests in and an entirely legitimate relationship with Ukraine. We will continue to make that argument.]