Delivered by Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna, to the 1200th meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, 8 November 2018
The delegation of Ukraine warmly welcomes Ambassador Marcel Peško, Director of the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre, back to the Permanent Council and thanks him for the presented report.
We are grateful to the CPC Director and the CPC team for the close attention to the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict and to the OSCE facilitation of its peaceful resolution. Your assessments, Mr. Director, on the tense security situation in eastern Ukraine marked by fluctuating level of ceasefire violations and increasing human cost of the conflict are shared by Ukraine. As the conflict started by Russia is not limited to the eastern part of my country, we expect the CPC to devote constant attention to the developments in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, illegally occupied by the Russian Federation through an act of aggression. The use of force by Russia against Ukraine, illegal occupation and attempted annexation of parts of Ukraine’s sovereign territory are the root causes of growing polarization, lack of trust, and rise in uncertainty and instability affecting the OSCE, to which you refer in your report.
Joint efforts of the OSCE participating States, the OSCE executive structures, including the CPC, are required to effectively address the grave security challenges posed by a hybrid aggression of one participating State against a neighbouring state. We welcome the policy guidance and operational support provided by the CPC to the OSCE SMM on implementing its mandate in the difficult circumstances. We encourage the CPC to strengthen its efforts aimed at enhancing the technical capabilities of the SMM to monitor the situation on the ground, especially in those temporarily occupied areas of Ukraine, where the Mission has no or a very restricted access. The potential for conflict escalation is clearly indicated by the SMM’s findings on regular Russia’s resupplies, including military, and the shooting down by Russia-controlled forces of the SMM long-range UAV, which provided these findings.
The Russian aggression and occupation of parts of Donbas depend upon uninterrupted illegal flow of supplies through the segment of the state border with Ukraine adjacent to the occupied territories of Donbas. These supplies violate core OSCE principles and numerous commitments undertaken by the participating States, including the Russian Federation. They violate the Minsk agreements, to which Russia is a party, and impede in the most serious way further progress to the peaceful politico-diplomatic resolution of the conflict. The CPC support remains essential for implementing the agreed Minsk Protocol provision on establishment of security zone in the border area of Ukraine and the Russian Federation along the Ukrainian-Russian state border adjacent to the occupied territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, enabling full and objective monitoring and verification by the OSCE. In this context, we welcome the active engagement of the CPC in the informal meetings on ways to improve transparency along the Ukrainian-Russian state border, the last one of which took place on 17 October 2018. This effort involves two OSCE missions – the SMM on the Ukrainian side of the border and BOM on the Russian side of the border. Based on the Minsk agreements and the respective proposals, broadly supported at those meetings, we would see it as critically important to have the relevant decision proposed for adoption at the forthcoming Ministerial meeting in Milan.
We encourage to take consistent effort of maintaining focus on priorities of the CPC, relating to the core mandate of conflict prevention and resolution. We support and welcome measures to enhance implementation of the MC Decision No. 3/11. This decision determines, in particular, the CPC’s role as the focal point for the OSCE-wide systematic collection, collation, analysis and assessment of relevant early warning signals. This function is of critical significance as we witness new areas of rising tensions. Such area, where the close attention of the CPC and possible options for timely and effective response are required, in line with the said decision, is the deteriorating security situation in the Sea of Azov caused by Russia’s aggressive actions including militarization of the Sea, illegal construction of a bridge across the Kerch Strait and systematic disruptions of freedom of international navigation for Ukrainian and foreign ships. The delegation of Ukraine has been highlighting the respective developments in the last meetings of the Permanent Council. We encourage the CPC to use to the full its mandate, including as determined by the MC Decision No. 3/11, to render timely and effective OSCE responses to growing tensions in the Black Sea and the Azov Sea region. The Ukrainian side stands ready to provide all necessary support to the CPC in these endeavours. Russia’s track-record of aggression against the neighbouring states and the promise we heard today from the Russian Ambassador, that there would be plenty of work for the CPC, should continue to leave us alarmed over the unpredictability of Russia’s intentions.
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.