Delivered by Permanent Representative Ihor Prokopchuk at the OSCE Permanent Council meeting on 15 July 2014
I avail myself of the presence of Minister Dacic as incoming OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in 2015 to raise the most pressing issue on the OSCE agenda, notably 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.
These actions by the Russian Federation have been condemned by the international community as violating fundamental principles of international law and the OSCE commitments, as well as endangering international peace and security throughout the OSCE space.
For the Ukrainian authorities, escalation in Ukraine’s east due to activities by pro-Russian terrorists remains the primary concern. A part of the solution in this regard will be taking effective measures of enhanced control on those parts of the state border between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, which are adjacent to the terrorist-affected areas.
Regrettably, while the Ukrainian forces are resuming control over the state border step by step, the flows of weapons and mercenaries from the territory of the Russian Federation, aimed at reinforcing the illegal armed groups, continue. On 13 July a convoy of about 150 armored vehicles under the Russian flags attempted to enter the territory of Ukraine in the vicinity of the Ukrainian village of Izvarino, Luhansk region.
Yesterday AN-26 plane was shot down at the altitude of 6500 metres. This raises serious questions about the type of weapon used for the attack, which are now investigated. While the sorties of all Ukrainian planes in the ATO area were suspended after the incident, this morning an unidentified plane carried out an attack on the town of Snizhne, resulting in civilian casualties and destruction of buildings. We see this attack as a cynical and brutal provocation. A special commission was set up to investigate it.
We register regular violation of the state border of Ukraine by Russian helicopters and drones. In the night of 12 July a mortar attack from the area of Kuybysheve, Rostov region of Russia, took place against the Ukrainian border checkpoint “Marynivka”. We strongly condemn such actions. Regrettably, no actions by the Russian Federation on stopping border violations have been taken in response to numerous requests by the Ukrainian side. Instead, the Russian Federation was prompt in unfoundedly accusing Ukrainian forces of shelling the Russian city of Donetsk, Rostov region.
We offer our condolences to the family of a victim and wish a speedy recovery to the wounded. We expect a thorough investigation of the incident to be held and are ready for cooperation with the Russian delegation in conducting it.
At the same time, I would like to state that the Ukrainian forces never target the territory of the neighbouring state or residential buildings in the area of anti-terrorist operation.
We are deeply concerned over the statements in Moscow, using this incident as a pretext for the military operation against Ukraine. Unleashing a full-fledged war against Ukraine will undoubtedly lead to what Moscow calls “irreversible consequences” not only for the Ukrainian people but for the entire European security. It is our call to all OSCE participating States that this must not be allowed to happen.
The persistent support by the Russian Federation is the main reason that the terrorist organizations are still active in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine and able to consolidate their presence in remaining strongholds, in particular Donetsk and Luhansk.
The local residents inform of numerous crimes, committed by the terrorist groups, including murders, abductions and hostage-taking. Now that cities in the east are being freed from terrorists, burial places are found of those who had earlier been taken hostage by the terrorists. We have chilling accounts of deprivation, beating and torture from those people who survived the ordeal of being hostages.
The terrorists resort to intentional shelling of the residential areas in order to blame the Ukrainian forces and thus aiming to intimidate the local population and produce what they see as appropriate scenes for Russian propaganda machine. We have posted on our web-page one of the video-evidences, filming the Grad rocket launcher system firing from the terrorist positions in a residential area in Luhansk at the village of Stanytsya Luhanska.
Critical infrastructure, in particular railroads and bridges, continue to be deliberately demolished by the terrorists. Regional economic losses already run into billions of USD. Who would act in this way: people struggling for the prosperity of their native land or foreign saboteurs? The answer is obvious as foreign mercenaries have no respect for this land and people.
In contrast to the terrorist strongholds, the situation in the liberated areas is returning to normal. Water and energy supplies are renewed, social payments have been resumed, local residents are provided with services. Regrettably, the recovery activities are complicated due to extensively mined infrastructure and subversive activities by remained terrorists. Hundreds of mines have been installed by terrorists on the roads and in administrative buildings, residential houses, infrastructure facilities, including a bakery plant in Slovyansk.
We reiterate our call on the Russian Federation to stop providing the terrorist organizations with its support and assistance, thus contributing to de-escalation on the ground.
We also call on the Russian Federation to counter provocations aimed at forcible transfer of Ukrainian orphan children to Russia. On 13 July the members of the terrorist organization “Donetsk people’s republic” attempted to illegally transfer about 150 children from Maryinka and Donetsk orphanages to the Russian Federation. We remind that such actions are qualified as grave crime under the Ukrainian legislation. We expect the Russian Federation to abide by its international obligations and commitments in the area of protection of children’s rights and cooperate in preventing abduction of children. We request the Russian Federation to take all measures to prevent illegal crossing of the border by abducted children.
The Delegation of Ukraine expresses its protest over on-going violations of the rights of the Ukrainian citizens, illegally detained by the Russian Federation. Since the recent PC meeting no positive development has been registered in relation to the cases of abducted servicewoman Nadiya Savchenko, filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, Oleksiy Chirniy, Gennadiy Afanasjev and Oleksandr Kolchenko.
In defiance of bilateral agreements the arrested Ukrainian citizens are still deprived of meeting with the Ukrainian consular officer despite our numerous calls on the Russian side.
We again call on all OSCE participating States to condemn the abduction of Ukrainian servicewoman Nadiya Savchenko, as well as illegal detention of Oleg Sentsov and three other Ukrainian citizens from the occupied Crimea under the false pretext. We request the Chairmanship, as the guardian of the OSCE commitments, to take an active stance on the cases of illegally detained Ukrainian citizens, seeking immediate access and facilitating their immediate release.
I would like to reiterate that our ultimate goal is ensuring sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, resuming law and order throughout Ukraine and ensuring safety and security for our people.
Let me conclude by reiterating our persistent call on the Russian Federation to adhere to the fundamental OSCE principles of sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, to reverse annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.
We urge Russia to halt exporting terrorism to Ukraine and to stop interference into internal affairs of our country. We urge the Russian Federation to back up its declarations with practical meaningful deeds of de-escalation, which has not yet happened. Instead, the events of the last days produced evidence of Russia’s involvement in increasing tensions and further escalation.
Thank you, Mr.Chairman.