In response to the statement of the Russian delegation we wish to make the following remarks.
The statement delivered by the distinguished Russian representative gave every ground to conclude that not only the Russian Federation had not implemented the Minsk agreements until now, but that so far it has no intention to do so. Unfortunately, the Russian Federation does not demonstrate readiness to assume responsibility for delivering on the commitments it has undertaken. Notably, a general from the Armed Forces General Staff of the Russian Federation, who participated in the OSCE High-level seminar on Military Doctrines over the last two days, did not deny the presence of the Russian military in Donbas when asked with a specific question. To resolve the conflict in Donbas it remains imperative that Russia stops the supply of ammunition to the area, withdraws its military, fighters and weaponry as prescribed by the Minsk agreements.
Re-establishment of effective control at the Ukrainian-Russian state border in conflict-affected area is critical for sustainable de-escalation and resolution of the conflict. Para. 9 of the Minsk Package of measures provides for the start of resumption of the border control by the Government of Ukraine on the first day after the local elections in that area. As dialogue is underway in the Trilateral Contact Group to agree upon modalities of those elections, we see it as essential to launch a dialogue on resumption of border control by the Government of Ukraine. A Ukrainian proposal to establish a respective sub-working group in the TCG has so far been dismissed by Russia, we encourage Moscow to reconsider this position.
In the meantime, para. 4 of the Minsk Protocol contains an agreement on permanent monitoring and verification by the OSCE at the Ukrainian-Russian state border with the establishment of a security zone in border areas of Ukraine and, let me stress, the Russian Federation. This agreed provision has not yet been implemented. We would like to request the Chairmanship, and through the Chairmanship the OSCE Secretariat, to develop and present proposals on how this important measure can be practically realized.
The distinguished Russian representative alleged with dissatisfaction that Russian “big generals” from the JCCC were inspected when crossing the Ukrainian-Russian border. Let me point out that border controls is a normal practice which does not distinguish the rank of the officers while, in fact, no generals were present in the group of Russian officers from the JCCC. I would like to provide some more details about the border controls in question. On 27 January the military instruction materials, classified as “for restricted use”, were retrieved from the Russian JCCC officers captain S.Kutsenko and major A.Kornik on such topics: the conduct of explosive works and demining; mounting of vehicle machine-guns; set-up of fortification and defence facilities. On 2 February again numerous military instruction materials were found in the possession of colonel I.Kirsanov, lieutenant-colonel E.Anisimov, major D.Shangareyev, major A.Andriushkin. The topics included: the use of hand grenades, mines, explosives to destroy bridges, houses and other facilities; the use of MRLS “Smerch”, “Uragan” and “Grad”; recommendations on conduct of combat operations in residential areas; combat engagement of tank units in special conditions and many other specialized military topics. Contrary to the tasks of the JCCC, all of these materials are directly related to the training and conduct of military operations by the illegal armed formations in the occupied area. Lieutenant-colonel E.Popov, major S.Trofimenko and major Y.Frolov carried certified originals of their decoration by medals “Soldier-internationalist” of the so called “DPR”.
My last remark concerns the unfounded interpretations by the Russian representative on non-implementation of the Memorandum of 21 February 2014 aimed at resolving the political crisis in Ukraine at that time. I wish to remind that a representative of the Russian Federation participated, along with three ministers from the European countries, in discussions in Kyiv which led to the agreement on the provisions of the Memorandum. However, unlike other participants, he did not place his signature on the Memorandum. As became known later, on 20 February-18 March 2014 the Russian Federation launched a special military operation against Ukraine to illegally occupy and attempt annexation of the Crimean peninsula. Thus, as discussions with participation of the international mediators were underway in Kyiv on 20-21 February 2014, the Russian Federation resorted to an armed aggression against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Two years since, we continue to grapple with the unabated aggression, which also fuelled a conflict in Donbas, and urge Russia to return to the tenets of international law, to abandon its aggressive policies and fulfill the commitments it has undertaken as means for peaceful resolution based on the norms of international law and the OSCE core principles.
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.