Ukrainian foreign minister calls for a bilateral cease-fire

With Russia increasing its role in the fight between separatists in eastern Ukraine and the country's official government, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said Sunday that there needs to be a bilateral cease-fire in the region.

"We don't need (a) military offensive, we need (a) bilateral cease-fire. We need of course clear control of the border because everything is coming into Ukraine from across he border, not just mercenaries and money but of course the weapons and heavy weaponry," he said in an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday.

While Klimkin said he was "quite confident that we could negotiate a peaceful settlement with everyone," he added it would not be possible to negotiate directly "with the terrorists who shot down the plane, who have been killing people, taken hostages."

He was referring to Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which the U.S. believes was shot down by a missile in rebel-controlled territory of eastern Ukraine. The U.S. has not ruled out Russian involvement in the attack.

Klimkin argued that Russia provided the surface-to-air missile necessary to shoot down the plane, adding that it is possible to buy a Kalashnikov rifle on the black market but not highly sophisticated technology that could shoot down an airplane, which takes a high degree of technical knowledge to operate.

"It's of course about responsibility of those who bring across the border all inflow of weapons and weaponry, and it has to stop," he said. "It's one of the preconditions for successful and peaceful settlement in the eastern Ukraine."

He argued that Russia was working to destabilize its neighbor, in particular by targeting the Donbas region that has heavy industry and critical infrastructure like electricity, natural gas and water pipelines.

In a separate interview on "Face the Nation," former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright echoed the suggestion that Russian President Vladimir Putin is looking to increase his influence in the region by creating a ring of subservient neighboring countries.

"What he wants to do is to reestablish himself as the identification of Russian nationalism, and then also to do everything he can to kind of reestablish something akin to the Soviet Union - obviously not that, but a grouping of countries around Russia that are completely subservient to him and to Moscow," she said. "Until he can get that, he's going to work to destabilize Eastern Europe."

Klimkin said Ukraine views the U.S. as "a friend and partner" in the mission of making Ukraine a success, but needs further assistance for successful economic reforms and for Ukrainian troops on the ground.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for