Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Photo: TT,SR

"Ukraine has chance to start afresh": Carl Bildt

Ukraine has a chance at a fresh start, but it's crucial that a functioning government is formed as soon as possible, says Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt about the current situation in Ukraine, where President Viktor Yanukovych fled the capital and his duties Saturday and jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko was released.

Ukraine's president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted by the parliament Saturday after over three months of violent protests in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. Yanukovych left the capital and has fled east to the Russian-speaking part of Ukraine. He has said that he still is the elected president of Ukraine and that the conflict is an example of a coup d'etat. Foreign Minister Carl Bildt says the current situation is complex.

"If he is in fact the president of Ukraine he is obligated to sign the decisions taken by the parliament, which he is not doing. He has fled the capital and has abandoned his duties but is still trying to obstruct the ongoing process," Bildt says to Swedish Radio.

Bildt says that the situation is worrying, but that the conflict also gives opportunities to improve the situation in Ukraine.

"The country desperately needs radical economic reforms and international support efforts, and they need to act fast. The country is without a functioning government and has a rapidly declining economy but there are great opportunities to start anew," Bildt says.

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt was also optimistic about Ukraine's future but expressed similar concerns. 

"This brings a lot of hope to a economically mismanaged country filled with conflicts. It's difficult to say who, if anyone, is in control of the ongoing process. There is, of course, a risk that it could spark more nationalism, vengeance and violence, " Reinfeldt says to TV4. 

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