The online broadcast of the plenary session can be viewed HERE.
Statement of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on the escalation of the Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict
The armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine has been going on since February 20, 2014, as a result of which the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol and part of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine were occupied, more than thirteen thousand citizens of Ukraine died and more than thirty thousand were injured, the infrastructure of the whole region was destroyed, millions of Ukrainian citizens were forced to leave their homes.
The militarization of the Crimean peninsula continues. The number of Russian troops in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol has increased to 40,000 and continues to grow. Similarly, the number of military equipment deployed on the peninsula is growing. Nuclear potential is being restored in the occupied territories of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. There are already at least 66 complexes, capable of sending missiles with nuclear warheads, on the peninsula.
In addition, in September 2021, a joint Belarusian-Russian strategic command and staff exercise Zapad-2021 is planned in Belarus, the theater of which will also cover the territories bordering with Ukraine. These exercises pose a danger to Ukraine and are perceived by Ukraine as a threat to the escalation of the ongoing international armed conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.
In pursuance of the agreements reached during the Paris Summit on December 9, 2019, the leaders of the member countries of the Normandy format, from July 27, 2020, introduced additional measures to strengthen the ceasefire, agreed within the Trilateral Contact Group, resulting in a significant reduction in civilian casualties among civilians and military personnel, as well as the destruction of civilian infrastructure, which had a positive impact on the overall security situation in the conflict zone.
At the same time, since the beginning of this year, there has been a significant increase in shelling and armed provocations by the Russian Armed Forces, an increase in ceasefire violations recorded by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, the OSCE SMM patrols aslo face increasing obstacles to their work in the temporarily occupied territories, illegal crossing of the uncontrolled by the Government of Ukraine section of the Ukrainian-Russian border by transport echelons and military equipment strengthening and ensuring rotation of the armed forces of the Russian Federation continues. The constructive work of the Trilateral Contact Group has been blocked for several months under various pretexts.
The last egregious fact was the massive shelling by Russian occupation forces on March 26, 2021 of the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine near the village of Shumy in Donetsk region using small arms, AGS-17 grenade launchers and 82 mm mortars prohibited by the Minsk agreements. In just one day, four Ukrainian servicemen were killed and one was seriously wounded by Russian weapons.
The current escalation in Donbas indicates that the Russian Federation continues to boldly ignore its commitments to a peaceful settlement of the conflict, including the Minsk and Normandy agreements, and its intention to prevent the stabilization of the situation in the conflict zone and achieving any progress on all tracks of the negotiation process. Today's actions by Russia are in fact aimed at destroying all efforts to end the conflict and peacefully reintegrate the occupied Ukrainian territories.
The Kremlin must stop misleading the entire civilized world by making baseless claims that Russia is not a party to the conflict. The direct role and participation of the Russian Federation in the ongoing armed conflict in eastern Ukraine has been documented and known to the international community.
Russia, as a party to the international armed conflict, must acknowledge its responsibility of unleashing military aggression against Ukraine and make every effort to resolve the conflict.
In this regard, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine,
condemning the ongoing armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine in violation of the Charter of the United Nations, the provisions of the Helsinki Final Act, the Memorandum on security assurances in connection with Ukraine's accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of 5 December 1994 (Budapest Memorandum) and international law;
recognizing that a new wave of escalation of Russian armed aggression could lead to an expansion of the conflict, with devastating consequences for the entire security architecture on the European continent and exacerbate the suffering of civilians in the conflict zone;
emphasizing that it is the Russian Federation, ignoring its obligations under the Minsk agreements and the Normandy agreements, in particular by blocking Zolote and Shchastia checkpoints, by preventing the release of all illegally detained persons in the format of "all-for- all", blocking demining and the admission of the International Committee of the Red Cross and other international humanitarian organizations to prisons in the temporarily occupied territories, non-compliance with the regime of silence by the Russian Federation and its occupying forces. Such actions by the Russian Federation disrupt the peace process and are a confirmation of the use of means and methods of warfare, prohibited by international humanitarian law;
taking into account the urgent need for strict compliance with the full and comprehensive ceasefire;
reaffirming the inalienable right of Ukraine to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity and the readiness of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to resolutely repel any encroachment by the aggressor on the life and liberty of the citizens of Ukraine;
emphasizing Russia's responsibility for violating international law and committing war crimes during the Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict,
being convinced that political, diplomatic and sanctions pressure on the Kremlin will help prevent a dangerous escalation in the conflict zone and humanitarian catastrophe in the region,
expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the fallen Ukrainian defenders.
demands that the Russian Federation cease hostilities immediately and adhere to the ceasefire, fully comply with its international obligations and withdraw from Ukraine its army, mercenaries, armed formations that it heads, provides and finances, their weapons and equipment, and return to Ukraine full control over its internationally recognized borders.
calls on the world community to continue and intensify international political and economic pressure on the Russian Federation to end aggression, withdraw foreign troops and armaments from Ukraine, and fully restore Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
appeals to international organizations and international jurisdictional institutions to take all possible measures to investigate cases of serious violations of international law during the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, including the commission of aggression, war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Russian armed forces.