Dear ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you very much for your attention to the current situation in Ukraine.
1) On Malaysia Airlines plane Boeing 777.
I would like to provide you with some latest information on the situation with the investigation of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crash.
On 21 July, the President of Ukraine ordered the Counter terrorist operation forces to ensure a 40 km safety zone from place of the airplane crash as well as to stop all military activities of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
On July 24, Ministers for foreign affairs of Ukraine and the Netherlands signed the Memorandum of Understanding on the investigation of the MH17 crash.
Under the Memorandum, taking into account the fact that the majority of victims of the disaster are Dutch citizens, Ukraine, as country where the tragedy happened, delegates the authority to the Netherlands to investigate this case. It is secured by the Agreement between the National Bureau of Air Accidents Investigation of Ukraine and the respective agency of the Netherlands.
The Netherlands shall coordinate the investigation of all circumstances of the tragedy and shall be responsible for its holding under Annex 13, part 5 of the Chicago Convention. The Netherlands shall as well ensure the participation of other parties concerned, particularly Ukraine, as country where the tragedy took place, Malaysia, as a country-owner of the aircraft, the United States, as a country-manufacturer of the aircraft and, finally, the ICAO.
On July 25, Ministers for foreign affairs of Ukraine and Australia signed the Agreement on sending of Australian personnel to Ukraine in connection to the MH17 crash. Australian personnel which will be sent to Ukraine under the Agreement will be providing security of the crash site.
We expect this Agreement to be ratified by the Parliament of Ukraine during this week.
At the same time despite the dreadful tragedy with Malaysia Airlines aircraft, terrorists have not stopped violent actions and still continue bombing of the site with the purpose to destroy evidences.
We urge the international community to apply maximum political pressure on Russia in order to make it to withdraw the terrorists from Ukraine, to allow the Ukrainian and international experts to grant full and unimpeded access to the crash site and actively promote the comprehensive investigation into the tragedy.
WE HAVE THE CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE OF THE FACT THAT THE PLANE WAS DOWNED BY RUSSIA-BACKED TERRORISTS WITH A “BUK-M” SAM SYSTEM (NATO REPORTING NAME – SA-11), WHICH TOGETHER WITH THE CREW HAD BEEN SUPPLIED FROM RUSSIA. IT IS CONFIRMED BY THE INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION, INTERCEPTED TELEPHONE CONVERSATIONS OF THE TERRORISTS AND SATELLITE PICTURES.
At the same time, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have never used any anti-aircraft missiles since the start of the CTO, no Ukrainian Air Forces jet fighters were airborne at the time of the air crash.
The Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) made public the intercepted telephone conversations of the terrorists, during which I.Bezler (aka 'Bes') reports to his coordinator, the Russian GRU colonel V. Geranin on a civil airplane being shot down by militants. In another intercepted telephone conversation, terrorists discussed the fact that on July 17 the “BUK-M” SAM system had been supplied to them from Russia.
UKRAINIAN AUTHORITIES RENDER ALL POSSIBLE ASSISTANCE TO THE FOREIGN INVESTIGATION TEAMS. WE PROVIDED ALL NECESSARY TECHNICAL EQUIPMENT AND PERSONNEL TO HOLD THE INVESTIGATION AND FORENSIC EXAMINATIONS, AS WELL AS ALL MEANS TO REPATRIATE THE VICTIMS’ BODIES TO THEIR RESPECTIVE COUNTRIES.
We also welcome the latest statement made by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on this matter; we agree that the shooting down of a Malaysian Airlines plane over eastern Ukraine may amount to a war crime.
Let me quote the President of Ukraine: “… having shot down the aircraft, militants committed three crimes: terrorist act of firing a missile at the civilian aircraft, offensive mistreatment of the dead bodies, particularly their removal, as well as elimination of the evidence and hindering the work of not only the Ukrainian commission of inquiry, but also the international experts of the ICAO commission.” End of quote
"The so-called "Luhansk and Donetsk People's Republics" must be recognized as terrorist organizations not only in Ukraine, but also in the whole world. Cooperation with them must be considered as support for terrorism," End of quote
2) On latest events.
Towns of Dzerzhinsk, Soledar, Karlivka, Lysychansk, Severodonetsk, Popasne, Pervomayske, Saur-Mohyla and strategically important Georgievka in Lugansk and Donetsk regions were reclaimed by the Ukrainian forces. Moreover, Ukrainian СTO forces reclaimed Lugansk airport and entered Donetsk airport.
On 24 July, from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm Marynivka check-point was shelled from the Russian territory by artillery, grad missile launchers and mortars. As a result, infrastructure and equipment of the international check-point Marynivka are not functional.
On 23 of July, several state border check-points in Lugansk were shelled from the Russian territory. The attack commenced at 9:55 pm and continued for about an hour. During the shelling a number of civilian buildings were severely damaged.
According to the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, on July 23-25 Ukrainian militaries were shelled from the territory of the Russian Federation at least for 14 times.
In particular, on July 27, the border crossing point “Dolzhansky” in the Luhansk region was being shelled for more than four hours with mortars and howitzers from the area of the Russian village Chernikov. More than 250 shells were fired at Ukrainian territory. As a result, four border guards were killed and two of them were wounded.
The evidence that Russia is attacking Ukraine is growing. The U.S. has released images taken by photographic-reconnaissance satellite proving that Russia has fired artillery rounds from its side of the border against Ukrainian military units.
The pictures, taken between Wednesday and Saturday, indicate fire from multiple rocket launchers inside Russia and targets they have struck inside Ukraine.
These images “provide evidence that Russian forces have fired across the border at Ukrainian military forces, and that Russia-backed separatists have used heavy artillery, provided by Russia, in attacks on Ukrainian forces from inside Ukraine,” according to labels on the pictures by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
I would like to draw your attention to that fact that the Russian provocations on the State border of Ukraine, remind us the provocations in Abkhazia and Ossetia which were used by Russian Federation in order to start their intervention as well as to explain that they were exercising their so-called “right of self defense”.
In response to the statement of the deputy minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, accusing Ukraine of 9 instances of shelling the Russian territory, we state that neither the Armed forces, nor other legitimate military authorities of Ukraine are responsible for these attacks. We would like to draw Russia’s and the international community’s attention to the fact that such attacks are usually undertaken by the terrorists in order to provoke Russian military forces to fire into the Ukrainian military positions.
Continuing illegal terrorist military activity has been possible only due to the Russian Federation’s direct and uncovered support despite continued calls by Ukraine and the international community to stop.
Just yesterday another seven Russian tanks crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border.
The terrorists keep seizing Ukrainian civil objects and factories as well as destroying infrastructure.
Thugs have seized the motor depot of Donetsk railway, several private firms, holding the personnel hostage. Also two bridges were blown up in Stahanov, Lugansk region by Russian saboteurs.
The terrorist are still using civilians as a shield locating their military positions in civil buildings and objects. The thugs have installed dozens of Grad missile launchers in densely populated neighborhoods in Gorlivka, Harczisk, Malomykolaivka and Pervomajsk.
In order to ensure the fastest possible return of the inhabitants of the cities which were controlled by the terrorists, Ukrainian military and government authorities are currently working on demining and rebuilding infrastructure. In fact, 96% of people in Sloviansk now have access to electricity, 99,8% of elevators are functioning and 70% of buildings have running water.
We have enough reasons to state that the Russian Federation is conducting at least indirect hidden aggression against Ukraine.
Although official Moscow has been constantly and tirelessly insisting that it was not involved in the situation in Donbas region, the irrefutable facts clearly indicate the opposite:
More and more Russian nationals are captured after fighting and then surrendering to Ukrainian law enforcers.
Moreover, we witness the situation when the self proclaimed Prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Peoples Republic, which is considered as a terrorist organization, Alexander Borodai together with another terrorist Igor Bezler (aka Bes) are travelling to Moscow for further instructions.
Let me remind you once again that throughout the whole period of this artificially created conflict supported by Russia it has never publicly called on its citizens to refrain from joining illegal armed groups on the territory of Ukraine. This fact speaks for itself.
Paragraph 2 of Article 208 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation states that “participation in armed groups which are not determined by the federal law as well as participation in such armed groups on the territory of foreign State with the purpose contrary to the interests of the Russian Federation, is punishable by five to ten year imprisonment”.
Since no Russian national has been brought to justice for such actions, there is only one conclusion: their participation in illegal armed groups on the territory of Ukraine “doesn’t contradict the interests of the Russian Federation”.
UKRAINE demands that the Russian side immediately cease provocations on the State border of Ukraine, stop hindering efforts of the Ukrainian side and the international community to put an end to terrorism and other violence in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine, return to the President Poroshenko’s Peace Plan, withdraw its forces from Ukrainian border and stop threatening peace and security in our country, region and the world as a whole.
3) On Human Rights Report.
On 28 July, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) published the fourth report on the human rights situation in Ukraine based on the findings of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission (UNHRMM) in Ukraine covering the period of 8 June - 15 July 2014.
The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission’s activities and its extensive work on collecting and analyzing facts concerning the human rights situation in Ukraine, especially in the occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea as well as in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where the terrorists supported by Russia are carrying out undeclared war against the people of Ukraine deserves positive evaluation.
The Mission continues recording the cases of grave human rights violations by members of the so-called "DNR" and "LNR", particularly violations of the right to life. It was noted that not only civilians but entire towns and villages are now being used by terrorists as ‘human shields’. Gunmen are kidnapping civilians for the purpose of ransom, exchange or use as labour force, torturing and murdering them. According to the UNHRMM, since mid-April there have been hundreds of people kidnapped by armed groups, including 46 journalists, 112 police officers, 91 soldiers and border guards, 26 representatives of the OSCE, 22 deputies, members of political parties and heads of local authorities in eastern Ukraine. The whereabouts of 375 people remain unknown.
It is noted in the report that professionalism of the armed groups is rather obvious and is openly acknowledged. Their leaders, many of whom are Russian citizens, gained significant experience fighting in Chechnya and Transnistria.
Special attention is drawn to the report’s part devoted to the situation concerning the incidents of abduction in the Luhansk region and illegal transfer and detention of a Ukrainian citizen N.Savchenko in the Russian Federation territory (later I will speak about it in details), flagrant violations of her rights by Russia, including the refusal to admit a Ukrainian consul to her, which she protested over by declaring hunger strike.
According to the report, children who found themselves in the fighting zone, especially the orphans and the disabled ones, are suffering the most as they are frequently held hostage by terrorists. The report provides concrete examples of children abduction incidents and their subsequent illegal transfer to Russia by terrorists.
(By the way, yesterday in Donetsk terrorists cynically shot directly to the school busses which transported more than 60 orphans from the zone of CTO to the safer areas. Fortunately no one was killed, but comments in this case are useless)
The report contains a chapter concerning the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, where it is stated that harassment and discrimination against ethnic Ukrainian, Crimean Tatars, members of religious minorities, and activists who are opposed to the "Crimean referendum" 16 March are still taking place. People continue to disappear and Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar newspapers are under the threat of being shut down. People with HIV/AIDS and drug addicts are in distress as well, as the use of replacement therapy is prohibited by Russia’s law. It is reported that since
10 June, 20 of such patients have died whereas the others have started using illegal drugs again.
There is a growing number of internally displaced persons from Crimea and the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. According to the UNHCHR, over the course of the upcoming months a new wave of internally displaced persons from the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is expected, including business representatives, teachers, those who did not want to change Ukrainian nationality, as well as families with children liable to call up, who do not want their children to serve in the Russian army.
The report also informs about exercising human rights and freedoms under current conditions in Ukraine, including the right to peacefully assembly, association, freedom of movement, speech, and religion, as well as economic, social and cultural rights. There is also a concern about the existing difficulties for those Ukrainians who wish to enter or leave the occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
The report contains information about preparing constitutional amendments and alterations to the existing law, namely: reform of the police, anti-corruption law, etc. The authors touch upon the investigation processes of the most high-profile cases, such as human rights violations during the protests in Independence Square (November 2013 - February 2014), the tragedy in Odessa on 2 May, 2014. The Mission emphasizes full co-operation with Ukrainian law enforcement agencies in monitoring the process of these investigations.
In general, Ukraine reckons that the annex to the report which contains UNHRMM preliminary recommendations and recommendations provided to Ukraine during the recent years, as being positive and constructive.
On the occasion of the report publication UN High Commissioner for Human Rights N. Pilley released a statement which touches upon another tragic event, to be more precise, the crash of Malaysian Airlines plane on 17 July 2014 that occurred after the end of the period covered by the report. The UN High Commissioner stressed that the downing of the aircraft is a grave violation of international law which may amount to war crimes.
All in all, we estimate the fourth report as being positive and constructive, however attention to some particular aspects has to be drawn.
While preparing the document and mostly utilizing humanitarian approach and providing facts and figures without explaining them, the authors sometimes fail to fully reflect the holistic nature of what is happening.
Thus, assessing the situation in the Eastern Ukraine and stressing the intensification of the ATO, the Mission avoids to emphasize the primarily causes of this situation, namely: commencement of illegal activities by illegal armed groups, their rejection of the Peace Plan proposed by the President of Ukraine, the fact that Russia continues to support the terrorists by supplying them weapons, military equipment and mercenaries, the continuation of inflicting terror on civilians, incidents abductions and marauding, and the growing threat to security not only in Ukraine but also in the whole region and the world, as the tragedy of the ‘Malaysian airlines’ plane vividly demonstrates it.
Talking about intensification of propaganda by “both sides”, the report fails to mention the negative impact of Russian propaganda on the situation in Ukraine, illegal activities of Russian media in Ukraine, which are actually the main source of fueling hatred and escalations in the Eastern Ukraine. In particular, referring to the banning of a number of Russian TV channels in Ukraine, UNMMHR fails to indicate that the reason for doing so was ‘hate speech’ (getting rid of which was stressed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in his reports), which is inciting ethnic hatred. A striking example is an interview with a fake witness N.Pyshnyak who allegedly witnessed Ukrainian military crucifying a three years old boy on the bulletin board in the central square of Sloviansk and a humiliation of his mother. The aforementioned was broadcasted by the First Russian channel on 12 July 2014.
Understanding the complexity of the tasks in the context of providing an unbiased and objective assessment of the situation in Ukraine, we are obliged to admit that the Mission remains silent on the negative role of the Russian Federation in the events in the East of our country as well as in the deterioration of the human rights situation in the whole country, which, unfortunately, is not adequately reflected in the report, or in the press release on the occasion of its publication. We reckon that appealing to “both sides” and ignoring the “third” or it would be more relevant to say the “first”, is at the very least short-sighted, if not dangerous.
Ukraine is ready to further develop and deepen cooperation with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and other human rights bodies of the UN in order to ensure and protect human rights, taking into account all the needs of the population of every region of our country.
Extraordinary plenary session of the Verkhovna Rada will be held on July 31
All heads of fractions adopted a common decision to hold the extraordinary plenary session of the Verkhovna Rada this Thursday.
The President once again emphasizes that dissolution of coalition in the Verkhovna Rada shouldn’t paralyze the work of the Parliament and is not a legal ground for resignation of the Cabinet of Ministers. The Head of State counts on further cooperation with Arseniy Yatsenyuk and the entire Cabinet of Ministers. Still, it doesn’t exclude personnel reinforcement of the Government’s team.
Common opinion is that dissolution of coalition shouldn’t obstruct the adoption of important decisions necessary for the entire Ukraine and every citizen.
On Savchenko case
The delegation of Ukraine reiterates again its resolute protest over the abduction from the territory of Ukraine of Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko by the terrorist organization “Luhansk people’s republic” and her illegal arrest in the pre-trial detention center in the city of Voronezh, the Russian Federation.
Despite attempts by the law-enforcement agencies of the Russian Federation to conceal the real circumstances of abduction of Ms.Savchenko, new details of this discreditable act have become known to public.
In her letter to the Russian ombudsman, the Savchenko confirmed that she had been moved by the terrorists from the territory of Ukraine without her consent and directly handed over to the Russian law-enforcement officers on 24 June. Until 30 June she was forcefully held in the hotel “Euro” in Voronezh as a so-called “guest”. Let me draw attention of the Permanent Council to the term “guest” which was earlier used by terrorist groups in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine in relation to abducted OSCE military observers and SMM monitors. At the same time Ms.Savchenko was not allowed to go outside, open windows and contact her relatives. While held captive in the hotel Ms.Savchenko was interrogated by the Russian law enforcement as a “witness”.
We call on the Russian Federation to immediately release Ms.Savchenko as illegally detained. We urge that all those responsible for her abduction from the territory of Ukraine to the Russian Federation be brought to justice.
On Yevhen Agarkov case
Ukrainian journalist Yevhen Agarkov also illegally detained in Russian prison since 18 July (he covered Savchenko case), fortunately will be released today after two weeks of negotiations and active engagement of Ukrainian Consulate in Russia. Russian authorities kept him in detention without any legally based motivation.
We consider these steps as direct pressure on Ukrainian media, specially taking into account how "loudly" and demonstratively Russian delegation here in the UN calls on protection of rights of Russian media in Ukraine.
On Graham Phillips “Russia Today” case
Yesterday Security Service decided to expel Graham Phillips, British citizen and journalist of Russian propaganda TV channel "Russia today" from Ukrainian territory for his activity incompatible with journalism and professional ethics. He became a persona non grata in our country for three years.
It is the second time he has problems with Ukrainian law enforcement agencies. Earlier this year, 21 May 2014, he was arrested by Ukrainian authorities for being filming Ukrainian Army deployment areas, which is prohibited by our national security legislation.