Delivered by Permanent representative of Ukraine to the International Organization in Vienna Ihor Prokopchuk at the OSCE Permanent Council meeting on 12 June 2014
I will start by reiterating our strong condemnation of the ongoing violations of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine by the Russian Federation through occupation and annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, as well as through Russia’s direct involvement in escalating tensions in Ukraine’s east in defiance of fundamental principles of international law and the OSCE commitments.
Regrettably, despite numerous calls of the international community, the Russian Federation continues to fail to comply with its international obligations and commitments.
The successful conduct of the presidential elections constituted a critically important outcome for de-escalating tensions, consolidation of the society, ensuring political and economic stability of Ukraine and reaffirmed Ukraine’s commitment to the democratic process.
In the inauguration speech, delivered on 7 June, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko declared securing and strengthening the unity of Ukraine, ensuring lasting peace and guaranteeing reliable security as his key tasks in office. The President set out a peace plan to end violence in the east of the country. The plan contains important steps aimed at restoring peace and order as well as ensuring the safety and legitimate interests of the citizens of the regions. They include:
Addressing the people living in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, the President offered:
The President of Ukraine clearly stated that the issue of territorial integrity of Ukraine, its sovereignty and independence would not be a subject for discussion. He emphasized that Ukraine has been and will always remain a unitary state, and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, annexed by Russia, would "always be Ukrainian". There can be no compromise with anyone on the issue of Crimea, our European course, Ukraine’s political composition.
We hope that discussions within the Trilateral contact group with the participation of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE will contribute to the elaboration of further details on implementation of the Peace plan set out by the President of Ukraine.
We are gravely concerned over the situation in those parts of the state border of Ukraine with the Russian Federation which are adjacent to the areas of terrorist activities, as we register there further flows of mercenaries, money and weapons from the Russian Federation. In particular, on 5 June a convoy of well-armed terrorists attempted to cross the Ukrainian border from the territory of the Russian Federation, attacking the border checkpoint “Marynivka” in Donetsk region. After the attack was repelled by the Ukrainian border guards, supported by Army units and Air Forces, a part of terrorist group fled back to the territory of the Russian Federation.
Following numerous attacks on the Ukrainian Border Guard compounds, the Government decided to suspend the traffic through 8 border crossing points on the Ukrainian-Russian border. The Russian Federation was duly informed of this decision on 5 June and, according to the bilateral agreements, had to suspend operation of check-points on its side.
However, at least one of these crossing points “Dovzhanskyi - Novoshahtinsk” continues functioning on the Russian side. The Russian Border Guard Service has resorted to cooperation with illegal armed groups in organizing illegal traffic through this section of the Ukrainian-Russian border. This example is indicative of validity of the recent instruction by the President of the Russian Federation to strengthen the protection regime of the state border with Ukraine.
Under these circumstances the terrorist groups in Donetsk and Luhansk regions face no difficulties in reinforcing their groups with new mercenaries and weapons from Russia.
On 6 June the terrorists shot down the Ukrainian AN-30B plane during the observation flight over the city of Slavyansk. The crew succeeded in flying the damaged plane away from the residential areas of Slovyansk at the cost of the lives of 5 crew members. Due to circumstances of the attack, in particular high altitude of the flight, military experts draw a conclusion, that the terrorists used the modern Russian MANPADS “Verba”, which is a modification only recently issued in Russia to its Armed Forces.
We have already drawn attention of the Permanent Council to the hostile statements by the Russian high officials regarding Ukraine, encouraging the terrorists’ activities on Ukrainian soil and inciting hatred towards Ukrainians. Among the most recent examples – call by Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation Sergey Glaziev for preventive air strike on Ukrainian forces, made on 10 June in Moscow.
Such a call from an Adviser to the President to unleash a full-fledged war with Ukraine again points out to the unchanged aggressive posture maintained by Russia towards Ukraine.
At the same time, the number of grave crimes, committed by the terrorist groups and affiliated criminal gangs, continues to grow. The list includes murders, abductions and hostage-taking, robbery, looting and arson, forcible confiscation of private and state property, attacks on military compounds and enterprises, destruction of critical infrastructure facilities. The terrorists use indiscriminate fire, including shelling of residential areas, to increase casualties among civilians and discredit Ukrainian law-enforcement agencies. Resulting from such provocations, two small children were killed in Slovyansk on 9 June.
Among other people killed recently are two mine rescuers, shot dead by terrorists during an attack on mine rescue compound in Torez, Donetsk region, on 8 June, to seize explosives and weapons.
Destroying infrastructure, the terrorists shelled the pump station of Siversky Donets – Donbas water channel on 10 June, leaving a number of cities without water supply. Two employees of the Donbas Water Company, working in the station, were killed.
According to the Ministry of Health of Ukraine over the last two months, marked with the terrorist activities in Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, 257 persons, including two underage children, were killed.
Local residents have encountered irregularities in social payments and access to different services, in particular medical care, in the terrorist-affected areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. According to the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, 10 hospitals are not functioning at the moment.
In contrast, the situation in those parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which are controlled by the government, remains mostly stable and peaceful, like in the rest of Ukraine. The anti-terrorist operation, carried out by the Ukrainian law-enforcement agencies, will be continued until the public law and order is restored throughout the entire territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and safety and security of the local population against the terrorist’ threat is protected.
We condemn hostage taking by separatist forces of 4 monitors from the Donetsk team and 4 monitors from Luhansk team on 26 May and 29 May respectively and call for their immediate and unconditional release. The Ukrainian authorities undertake all necessary efforts, together with the SMM, to secure release of the monitors.
In this regard I would like to draw the attention of the Permanent Council to the fact that on 7 June one of the leaders of the terrorist organization “Donetsk people’s republic” Andrey Purgin confirmed that both groups are held hostage in the city of Severodonetsk, Luhansk region. The very same person was a welcomed guest (via Skype) at the round table on “humanitarian aid to Donetsk and Luhansk”, organized three days earlier in the State Duma of the Russian Federation. On many previous occasions we pointed to evidence of regular contacts between armed separatists and Moscow. We reiterate our call on the Russian Federation to exert in full its influence on the armed separatists to facilitate the release of OSCE hostages as well as other hostages held by the separatists.
We remain seriously concerned over the deteriorating situation in the occupied Crimea, in particular in the area of exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms which are being suppressed by the authorities exercising de-facto control in Crimea.
Abductions, killings, attacks on journalists and civil activists, surveillance over Crimean Tatars in mosques, denial of access to Crimea to the leader of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People continue on the peninsula.
We express our protest with regard to the adoption in the first reading by the Russian State Duma of the draft law to establish a gambling zone in Crimea on 10 June 2014. We reiterate that attempts by the Russian Federation to impose the Russian legislation on the integral part of the territory of Ukraine are illegal and violate the legislation of Ukraine and norms of international law.
We have already informed the Permanent Council about the recent cases of arrest by the Russian security services of several Ukrainian citizens in Crimea, including the renowned film maker Oleg Sentsov, and groundlessly charging them with terrorism. We again draw attention that until now, two weeks after the issue was raised on bilateral level and in the Permanent Council, these citizens have not been allowed meeting with the consular officer of the Embassy of Ukraine in the Russian Federation. We call for immediate release of Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and other Ukrainian citizens detained by Russian security services on trumped up charges.
I will conclude my statement by urging the Russian Federation to halt the flow of weapons and militants across the border from the Russian territory and to exercise its influence on armed separatists to lay down their weapons and renounce violence.
We reiterate our call upon the Russian Federation to recognize the fundamental principles of sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and to reverse annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea; revoke the authorization of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation of 1 March 2014 on the possibility to use Russian military force on the Ukrainian soil; halt exporting terrorism to Ukraine and stop interference into internal affairs of our country.
Thank you, Mr.Chairman.