Remarks by Russia’s Permanent Representative to the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, Vienna, November 23, 2017

Wednesday, 29 November 2017 15:54

The situation in Ukraine and the need to implement the Minsk Agreements

Mr Chairperson,

Hundreds of people came out onto the streets in Kiev on November 21, the fourth Maidan anniversary. But this time nobody treated them to sandwiches like four years ago. Nobody persuaded the current authorities to abstain from using force. Nothing was said about the freedom of assembly or association. The police promptly dismantled the tents of the demonstrators. Some people were injured as a result of brief clashes. The situation in Ukraine has changed substantially in the past four years. The mass killings and crimes of Maidan accomplices, such as the burning of people in the Trade Union House in Odessa and the Maidan snipers case, have not been properly investigated. I would like to draw your attention to a documentary by a correspondent of Italian newspaper Il Giornale called “Ukraine: Hidden Facts.” It contains important information on who opened fire on the people on Maidan and on whose instructions. It is easy to find this film online.

The language rights of Russian speakers and national minorities are being encroached upon; the freedom of speech is being restricted, journalists are being harassed. Radicals are exerting influence on political and economic processes, taking part in the criminal repartition of property, countering law enforcement, spreading nationalist and neo-Nazi ideas and fanning ethnic strife.

On November 18, a rally of 1,500 people with the participation of the National Corps and the Right Sector against the construction of a trade centre in Odessa led to clashes with the police. The unrest was recorded by the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM).  Another example: On October 20, a group of young people attacked a police station in Kiev to free their accomplices. According to Ukraine’s law enforcement, two policemen and eight attackers were injured while detained criminals were released from the police station.

The most outrageous behaviour is demonstrated by the radicals and Ukrainian regular army soldiers who are parroting them, along the contact line. The SMM has already reported cases of security service agents’ looting and detention of civilians along the contact line. On November 17, the SMM reported on an investigation by Ukraine’s Military Prosecutor’s Office into an attack of a civilian resident of Popasnaya by armed men with identification markers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

The prestigious German publication Der Spiegel confirms that radicals are advocating nationalist and neo-Nazi ideas in order to draw young people into their ranks. The publication has information on the recruitment of mercenaries among young Germans by the so-called volunteer Azov Battalion.

The majority of information on instances of injustice and radicalism do not appear in the Kiev-sanitized media. Journalists who do not accept the official viewpoint are killed, like Oles Buzina, harassed through the Myrotvorets (Peacemaker) website or expelled from the country. On November 21, the Press Secretary of Ukraine’s Security Service announced a decision to expel another Russian journalist – Igor Petrashevich – ostensibly for “undermining the authority of government bodies” and “distorting historical facts.”

But it is Kiev that is engaged in distorting history. Last week the Verkhovna Rada deleted all references to the Great Patriotic War from the Law on the Status of Veterans. On November 20, radicals poured cement over the Eternal Flame in the Park of Glory in Kiev for the second time this month. Ukrainian nationalist leaders, such as the leader of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) Bogdan Chervak, are threatening to nail to the wall those Western partners that are objecting to the glorification of OUN, UIA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army) and the SS Division Galicia in Ukraine. It is no surprise in this context that Kiev voted against the draft resolution of the UN General Assembly on “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo‑Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.” The adoption of this resolution is yet another clear signal, which an impressive majority of the international community are sending to the countries that require urgent measures against the glorification of Nazism, including the Waffen-SS and all kinds of collaborationists.

Mr Chairperson,

Security is degrading in Donbass against the backdrop of the political turbulence in Kiev. Ukrainian security forces are provoking tensions along the contact line. The Armed Forces of Ukraine violated the ceasefire about 500 times between November 11 and 20.

On November 22, Ukrainian security forces occupied the village of Gladosovo near Gorlovka despite the protests of the local residents. In this way, the Armed Forces of Ukraine and nationalist battalions continue their “creeping offensive” that has repeatedly escalated tensions along the contact line.

As a result of shelling on November 20, nine houses were damaged in Dokuchayevsk. The OSCE SMM registered new large calibre weapons of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in violation of the Minsk Package of Measures in Bogoyavlenka, Berestovo and Orlovka and “fresh” ditches dug by security forces in Sopino. In these conditions, the SMM should toughen its monitoring of so-called “hot spots” and the bases at which the Armed Forces of Ukraine are concentrating combat hardware.

I would like to draw your attention to the problem of new mines laid by Ukrainian security forces, which are posing a threat to civilians and SMM observers. Last week civilians were hit by mines in Maryinka and Kodem and Ukrainian policemen in Gnutovo. The mine threat has become a convenient excuse for denying the SMM access to areas near Stanitsa Luganskaya, Zolotoye, Schastye and other sections along the contact line. SMM First Deputy Chief Monitor Alexander Hug said at the November 13 briefing, that in the past three months the mine threat created the majority of restrictions on the SMM’s movement on the territory controlled by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Despite the many domestic problems in Ukraine that we have mentioned we are sure that there is a way out of the conflict in the east of Ukraine. It consists of the full implementation of the Minsk Package of Measures approved by UN Security Council Resolution 2202.  This is the goal we are urging the parties to focus on.

Thank you for your attention.

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