Delivered by Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna, to the 1157th meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, 28 September 2017
For the second consecutive year the Russian delegation puts on the agenda the current issue “Anniversary of Munich Pact”. We hope that the Russian delegation may eventually be as eager to discuss the anniversary of Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939, whereby two totalitarian regimes – Nazi and Soviet – agreed to divide Europe and began as allies what later became the bloodiest war in the human history – the Second World War. In that war the Ukrainian nation lost over 8 million lives. The Nazism was defeated but this victory did not bring freedom to many nations in Europe as the Soviet totalitarian regime maintained its repressive grip for another 45 years.
We cannot undo the unprecedented human losses and horrors of that war, but what we can and must do is to remember and base our actions on lessons drawn from that devastating tragedy.
The lesson of Munich Pact is that accommodation or appeasement of an aggressor breed further aggression. The values and principles must not be compromised for an illusion of peace that quickly transforms into more aggression.
Projecting this lesson to present reality, as we discuss a current issue, we wish to emphasise that impunity of the Russian Federation for violent destabilization of its neighbours in 1990s, for large-scale grave violations of basic human rights in two Chechen wars, for Russia’s war against Georgia in 2008 has emboldened Moscow to further aggression. In 2014 the Russian Federation sent its troops and agents to illegally occupy parts of Ukraine – the Crimean peninsula and Donbas region, attempted to change state borders by force and since then continues to maintain hostilities in Donbas by its regular troops, mercenaries, proxy forces and military equipment. By its aggression against Ukraine Russia flagrantly violated and continues to show contempt to the principles enshrined in the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act, to bilateral and multilateral treaties and assurances.
The Russian aggression made abundantly clear that the pillars of the European security order – national borders, international norms and principles, multilateral institutions – cannot be stretched to satisfy the appetite of aggressive intentions, otherwise the established security order will be irreparably destroyed.
In this light it is critically important to firmly hold the aggressor to account and employ all necessary instruments to make it return to the tenets of international law and the core principles of the European security order.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.