Ukraine’s statement at OSCE Permanent Council session (abridged)

Source : 112 Ukraine

Kyiv decisively condemns the ongoing Russian aggression and occupation of Crimea
14:00, 5 May 2017

OSCE Permanent Council, Hofburg Palace

The government of Ukraine urges Russia to cease the military aggression in Donbas, stop violating human rights in the occupied areas and respect its international commitments. The respective statement was made by Ukrainian diplomat Ihor Prokopchuk at the session of OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on May 4.

‘The Delegation of Ukraine wishes to reiterate Ukraine’s high appreciation and strong support for the activities of the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, aiming to fulfill its mandate on fostering peace, stability and security in the east of Donbas region according to the OSCE principles and commitments,’ the statement says.

The Ukrainian side pointed out that ‘the Russian Federation resisted departing from its position which earlier instilled a sense of impunity among the Russian hybrid forces fighters in the Donbas region and significantly restricted the monitoring capabilities of the SMM in the non-government controlled areas’.

The delegation expressed condolences about the death of OSCE observer in Luhansk region last month.

‘The security situation in Donbas remains volatile and unpredictable, as the hybrid Russian forces disregard the cease-fire arrangements and the commitments on the withdrawal of weapons. The hybrid Russian forces use mortars, artillery and Grad-P systems,’ Ihor Prokopchuk said further.

The Ukrainian diplomat highly appreciated the fact ‘that the verification process has finally started, with the OSCE representatives, in relation to persons who may be pardoned within the Ukrainian legislative framework as a part of the Minsk agreements provision on the release of individuals on the “all for all” principle’. Prokopchuk added that the illegal armed formations in Donbas increase the number of civilians as hostages in their captivity.

According to the statement by the Ukrainian delegation, the Russian hybrid aggression against Ukraine takes different forms and manifestations. ‘One of them is deliberate persecution of Ukraine’s political figures and ordinary Ukrainians on fake and unfounded charges concocted by the Russian authorities. It requires a strong international position and continued pressure to make Russia stop these persecutions and release the political prisoners already in detention of the Russian authorities,’ Ihor Prokopchuk said.

Further, the Ukrainian side turned the attention of the OSCE Permanent Council to the recent verdict of the International Court of Justice in the Ukraine versus Russia case. ‘In particular, with regard to the situation in Crimea the Court ordered that the Russian Federation must ensure the availability of education in the Ukrainian language. This order concerns the Russian policy of russification in the temporarily occupied Crimea, whereby since 2014 the number of pupils receiving education in Ukrainian language has been drastically reduced by 36 times, from more than 13,000 to less than 400 young people. This current figure represents only 0.2% of the overall number of pupils attending schools in the occupied Crimean peninsula, while ethnic Ukrainians constitute over 15% of its population,’ the statement reads on.

The Ukrainian delegation in the OSCE Permanent Council urged Russia to stop human rights abuses in the occupied peninsula, to observe provisions of international law, applicable to situations of occupation, and fulfill the order of the International Court of Justice. ‘The temporarily occupied territory must not be an “exclusion zone” concerning respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. We urge Russia to stop its aggression against Ukraine, to implement in good faith its commitments under the Minsk agreements, to reverse the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula, which remains an integral part of Ukraine’, the statement concluded as cited by the Ukrainian diplomat.

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