Delivered by Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna, to the 1155th meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, 20 July 2017
We join other speakers in warmly welcoming at the Permanent Council the incoming OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Minister Angelino Alfano and thank him for outlining the priorities of the Italian OSCE Chairmanship in 2018.
Mr Minister, Italy is preparing to lead the OSCE in times of turbulence and instability, when security challenges mount against the background of eroded trust and confidence resulting from flagrant assault of one participating State on the rules-based security order in Europe. The consistency and consolidation of efforts in upholding the rules, established by the Helsinki Final Act and the Paris Charter for New Europe, can be the only effective approach to confronting the current and emerging challenges. Unless specific focus is placed on restoration of full respect to fundamental OSCE principles of peaceful co-existence between states, any attempt for temporary solutions outside the framework of universally recognized norms, no matter how tempting they may look for a short-term perspective, will only further undermine the prospects for lasting security in Europe.
The most urgent security challenge, as reconfirmed during the recent OSCE Informal Ministerial meeting in Mauerbach on 11 July, remains Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine which nearly daily increases the toll of killed and wounded. This aggression is an assault on the territorial integrity, sovereignty, political unity and independence of Ukraine, on the core OSCE principles and commitments, that we have all signed up to, as well as on common values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
The Russian Federation remains in gross breach of all ten principles of the Helsinki Final Act as it continues to illegally occupy the Crimean peninsula and to fuel the conflict in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, having established its effective control in these areas. Whereas Ukraine is committed to peaceful resolution of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, seeking good-faith implementation of the Minsk agreements and de-occupation of Crimea, the Russian Federation resorts to steps that significantly undermine the Minsk process and translate into creeping annexation of occupied areas of Donbas, in particular through recognition of the fake documents of illegal armed formations, introduction of the Russian currency and tax legislation and other unilateral steps.
The security and humanitarian situation has not registered improvements either: the hybrid Russian forces continue heavy artillery shellings relying on weaponry and ammunition supplies from Russia through uncontrolled segment of the border with Ukraine, no progress in release of dozens of hostages and illegally detained persons, grave human rights violations and repressions continue in the illegally occupied Crimea.
The OSCE has demonstrated its potential of response to the grave security crisis stemming from the Russian aggression against Ukraine, by deploying an unprecedented in its scale and complexity Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine. The SMM’s monitoring efficiency has been severely undermined in the last months by rapid worsening of the security environment for the monitors, who face daily threats, intimidations and even direct attacks from the Russia-backed terrorists, which necessitates measures to further strengthen the SMM, in particular its technical capabilities.
Whereas Ukraine fully supports the efforts of the SMM and the Trilateral Contact Group aimed at facilitating implementation of the Minsk agreements, the security conditions on the ground require that the civilian Mission be reinforced with a stronger international presence to ensure the necessary environment for progress on the political track of the Minsk agreements. We encourage the incoming Italian Chairmanship to pay a focused attention to elaborating options available within the OSCE and in cooperation with other key players, such as deployment of an armed police mission. A useful work in this regard has been done by the previous German and current Austrian OSCE Chairmanships.
Within the three dimensions of OSCE concept of comprehensive security, the Italian Chairmanship can rely on Ukraine’s support in responding to multifaceted challenges affecting the security in Europe.
We will continue our active participation in the OSCE efforts aiming at increasing transparency, predictability and stability in the political-military dimension. The border management and security aspects warrant a close attention of the incoming Chairmanship, including in terms of countering the threats of foreign terrorist fighters and other non-state actors, cross-border organized crime and trafficking in human beings. The recognized area for enhanced efforts is cyber-security where we expect further progress.
In the economic and environmental dimension, it is essential to engage in dialogue with due respect for full and good faith implementation of fundamental OSCE principles and commitments, starting from the Helsinki Final Act, as the basis of multilateral economic co-operation. We attach particular significance to the added value, which the OSCE brings to promoting good governance, combating corruption and money laundering in the OSCE space. The environmental aspects of security need also be addressed in the context of armed conflicts and their implications for the local civilian population.
As the country facing complex humanitarian challenges generated by the external hybrid aggression, Ukraine views as the topics of utmost relevance the protection of human rights in the situations of occupation, countering state propaganda, eradication of phenomenon of political prisoners, combating torture and enforced disappearance, rights of IDPs and refugees. The people living in the areas of Ukraine temporarily occupied and controlled by Russia must not be deprived of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms. We will encourage the incoming Italian Chairmanship to extend all necessary support to the autonomous OSCE Institutions with the aim of conducting permanent monitoring and reporting on the human rights’ situation in the affected regions of Ukraine.
In conclusion, we wish to thank you again, Mr Minister, for addressing the Permanent Council and wish resolve and success in leading this Organisation and upholding its principles as the basis for secure, stable and prosperous Europe.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.