H.E. Mr.Yuriy Sergeyev, Permanent Representative
of Ukraine to the United Nations at the UN Security Council
Distinguished members of the Security Council,
Thank you for having responded to my letter of November 7 and convened today's meeting. In that letter I drew your attention to the dangerously deteriorating security situation in the East of Ukraine that threatens our territorial integrity and has a tendency to transform into the "frozen conflict”, and thus continues to be a challenge to peace and stability in the whole Europe and beyond.
Ukraine remains devoted to the settlement of the conflict through diplomatic means. The establishment of the Trilateral Contact Group of senior representatives of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office aims at finding a political and diplomatic solution to the crisis.
This group held several meetings including those in Minsk on 5 and 19 September 2014. The agreements reached at these meetings – Protocol and Memorandum of 5 and 19 September respectively – were supposed to become an important step towards a sustainable, mutually agreed ceasefire, a secure Russian-Ukrainian border and the return of peace and stability to Eastern Ukraine with the establishment of a “special status” zone, which is to be empowered with a strong local self-government under the Ukrainian law.
Commitment to agreemens’ implementation was confirmed during the high level meeting in Milan on the 17th of October, where the President of the Russian Federation participated.
Despite the claims, the separatists and the Russian Federation as their sponsor continue to grossly violate the provisions of Minsk agreements. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on his side expressed his disappointment and called on the parties involved to fulfill their obligations.
In this regard, I would like to draw your attention to a few major points concerning the violation of the Minsk agreements.
1. We agreed with Russia in Minsk about an immediate bilateral ceasefire and withdrawal of illegal armed groups, military equipment, as well as fighters and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine. What happened instead? In breach of all agreements, militants backed by the Russian regular forces continue shelling Ukrainian military as well as civilian locations, in particular with MLRS Grad and Smerch. Since the 5th of September, Ukrainian forces and civilians have been shelled over 2800 times. 131 Ukrainian servicemen are killed. Over 568 have been wounded. There have been at least 65 civilians who lost their lives.
Militants inspired by Russia disregard efforts to set up the touchline and still conduct offensive operations trying to extend the area under their control. Large-scale recruitment and training of militants takes place in the areas of Donbas which are temporary out of Ukrainian Government control as well as on the Russian side of the border. Offensive is expected in a number of locations along the touchline. We cannot exclude an attempt to create a land corridor from Russia to temporary occupied Crimea.
Another vivid evidence of violation of the Minsk agreements is a large amount of heavy weaponry along with personnel and fuel, which after 5 September illegally entered into Ukraine from the Russian territory. A dangerous growth of illegal armaments supplies from Russia to militants was observed by Ukraine and OSCE during last couple of days.
On 6 November, Ukrainian authorities have detected a large-scaled movement of heavy weaponry from the Russian territory to the Krasny Luch town in Ukraine: two columns included 32 tanks, 16 howitzers D-30, and 30 KAMAZ trucks with soldiers and ammunition.
OSCE confirmed on the 8th of November a movement of two columns of 50 fully-loaded KAMAZ trucks. Almost every truck had an artillery mount in tow. On the 9th of November OSCE recorded a convoy of 17 ZIL trucks 15 km on the East of Donetsk. 5 trucks transported GRAD system. On the 10th of November OSCE spotted another convoy of 17 trucks that supplied terrorists with 122 mm howitzers and Radio location stations. On the same day a second convoy of trucks, 3 of which carried Radio location stations, illegally crossed the border.
Finally, yesterday the OSCE recorded a convoy of 43 trucks in the eastern part of Donetsk. 5 of the trucks carried 122 mm howitzers and 5 of trucks carried MLRS. In the vicinity of militants’ checkpoint near the town Novoazovsk antiaircraft rocket gun Pantzer (Armour) was spotted.
As you see, illegal Russian convoys with heavy weapons are registered literally every day.
We demand Russia to provide, here and now, explanation of this perilous military build-up and to halt it right away.
The illegal movement of the cargo from the territory of the Russian Federation through the state border of Ukraine, called by the Russian side as the “humanitarian aid” to the civilians of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions is also a matter of deep concern for Ukraine.
It was organized without inquiring for official consent of the Ukrainian side, without completing necessary border and customs procedures by relevant Ukrainian authorities, without coordinating with the International Red Cross Committee and accompanying the cargo by its representatives, in breach of the national legislation of Ukraine and the agreements reached earlier.
The last so called "humanitarian convoys" crossed the state border of Ukraine on 31 October, 2 November and 4 November. We demand the Russian Federation to stop using the issues of humanitarian aid as a cover for illegal supplies of troops, mercenaries and weapons to the East of Ukraine.
Contrary to these hostile actions and Russian propaganda myths Ukrainian forces follow do observe the ceasefire regime. They exert every effort to avoid full-scale military actions and use weapons only to defend themselves in case of militants’ attacks. Let me say very clearly: the only reason why the open war in the East of Ukraine hasn’t started yet is because of Ukraine’s restraint. We remain committed to peaceful settlement and Minsk arrangements and urge Russia to do the same.
2. We agreed in Minsk to ensure the monitoring and verification of the ceasefire by the OSCE. We also agreed to ensure the permanent monitoring and verification by the OSCE of the Ukrainian-Russian border, envisaging creation of security zones in the border regions of Ukraine and the Russian Federation. Were we are with that?
Ukraine has rendered all necessary assistance for the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine to effectively implement its mandate.
Russia-supported militants did not extend security guarantees to the OSCE SMM personnel to all areas that they control and systematically obstruct the SMM monitoring activities. Moreover, in order to hide their violations Russian military use cutting-edge electronic warfare to jam the OSCE drones, thus disturbing monitoring efforts in the region in spite of Minsk arrangements.
The Russian side also refused to join the consensus on the proposed expansion of the mandate of the existing OSCE observation mission at two Russian border checkpoints to all Russian border checkpoints along the 400-km segment of the border in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. With this mission’s current mandate to expire on 23 November we urge the Russian side to demonstrate a clear commitment to a peaceful resolution of the crisis of its making in the east of Ukraine by agreeing to allow OSCE observers to conduct the monitoring activities at all border crossings with Ukraine as well as along the whole length of the border in that area. This would contribute to establishing effective border verification by the OSCE as foreseen by the Minsk arrangements.
Why such a stark difference in Ukraine’s and Russia’s approaches to the role the OSCE can play in the current situation? Ukraine is open to transparent monitoring and control. Russia and their puppets are not.
3. We agreed in Minsk to adopt the Law of Ukraine on "Local Government Provisional Arrangements in Some Areas of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts" (law on the special status) and to ensure within provisions of that law the early local elections in some areas of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.
The mentioned new law was adopted by Ukrainian Parliament on 16 September. According to this Law local elections in some areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions were scheduled for December 7 and were intended to produce legitimate local self-governance which would make proper use of enhanced powers, engage into an inclusive national dialogue and ensure reconstruction of Donbas severely suffered from military activities of illegal armed groups.
Contrary to that on the 2nd of November Russia-backed terrorists held illegitimate ‘elections’ of so called “presidents” and “parliaments” of self-proclaimed illegitimate entities in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. These ‘elections’ were conducted in violation of Ukrainian legislation and international standards and contrary to articles 3 and 9 of the Minsk Protocol.
By opting to recognize the illegal and illegitimate so-called “elections” in certain areas of Donbas, Russia chose to violate time and again the norms of international law, fundamental OSCE principles and commitments, chose to act in breach of the Minsk agreements.
We are very much concerned by the position of the Russian Federation which manipulates with the right of peoples for self-determination. It has the one and only priority – to feed separatism and create “frozen” conflicts in sovereign states treated by Russia as zones of its interests. That is why Ukraine as well as the international community will newer recognize the illegal referendum in Crimea and illegal pseudo elections in certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
Ukrainian leadership has already expressed its deep concern at the violation of Minsk agreements by Russia and ringleaders it controls in the east of Ukraine. Illegal elections, continuous ceasefire regime violations by militants as well as sharp increase in illegal supplies by the RF of weapons and military equipment across the border have seriously undermined Minsk process of peaceful settlement. It questioned the trust to those signatories who do not keep their word.
Nevertheless Kyiv confirmed its commitments to continue to observe the regime of ceasefire in line with Minsk agreements and called all involved in the process to swiftly resume settlement efforts. We try to make use of all possible mechanisms to forge a peaceful solution to the situation. We call on Russia, EU and the USA to meet together in the Geneva format in order to give a clear and consolidated message as well as strong impetus to parties involved to strictly adhere to the letter and spirit of the Minsk agreements. However, we will not yield to Russia’s attempt to induce implicit recognition in the international arena of ringleaders of illegal entities in Donbas by inviting them to this meeting.
We keep demanding the Russian Federation to stop backing illegal armed groups, to immediately and strictly comply with the Minks agreements by withdrawing its military forces and weaponry from the territory of Ukraine, establishing joint customs and border control as well as releasing all Ukrainian hostages captured by Russian forces and their proxies, as well as to stop Russia’s long-lasting military exercises in close vicinity to our borders.
We keep calling on this Council to finally assume its UN Charter responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security so as to put an end to the Russian aggression against Ukraine.
I thank you Mr. President.