The April 1 editorial “Shut out” suggested that the Obama administration is working with Russia on Ukraine without the participation and input of the legitimate, interim government of Ukraine. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Secretary of State John F. Kerry has underscored in his meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov the steps Russia must take to deescalate the situation. The administration has been clear that Russia’s occupation of Crimea is illegal, will not be recognized by the international community and must be reversed. That is the approach I hear from the Ukrainian government. We have made no promises beyond that, nor have we engaged in decision-making with Russia over the future of Ukraine. As President Obama emphasized when Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk was in Washington last month, “We want the Ukrainian people to determine their own destiny.” That idea has guided U.S. policy from the first days of this crisis.
The Russian government’s illegal “annexation” of Crimea caused this crisis, and the Russian government’s actions to deescalate tensions will resolve it. It makes sense for Mr. Kerry and Mr. Lavrov to talk. But Mr. Kerry put it best when, after meeting with Mr. Lavrov on Sunday in Paris, he said: “There will be no decisions about Ukraine without Ukraine.” That is how we see it, and we’ve been keeping in touch with the legitimate government in Kiev and the people of Ukraine to ensure that they are the ones who choose their future.
Geoffrey Pyatt, Kiev
The writer is the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.