Remarks and response by First Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN Alexander Pankin during a UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine, New York, 12 November 2014

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Remarks by First Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN Alexander Pankin during a UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine

Mr Chairman,

I call upon our Security Council colleagues not to make the Security Council meeting into a farce, and to stop the frenzied hysteria.

We listened carefully to the briefing by Assistant Secretary-General for UN Political Affairs Mr Toyberg-Frandzen. We appreciate the information provided by Head of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine Mr Ertugrul Apakan, and Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Ms Heidi Tagliavini. We were interested to hear the assessments of those who work “in the field” and apply daily efforts toward resolving the situation in southeastern Ukraine. However, we believe that involving international specialists acting on the OSCE mandate in Security Council meetings is not correct, not to mention the fact that it distracts them from their immediate duties and unnecessarily politicises their practical work.

The purpose of inviting them was just this, which was confirmed by today’s remarks by a number of UNSC members who used this platform and the OSCE representatives not for a constructive search for means of overcoming the Ukrainian domestic crisis, but for performing another propaganda trick, this time in a new setting.

Mr Chairman,

The situation in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions remains tense. The ceasefire is not being fully complied with. The withdrawal of heavy weapons and equipment has not begun. On the contrary, during the entire period of the ceasefire, the Ukrainian troops have been concentrating along the entire frontline.

Importantly, the concentration of the Ukrainian troops is occurring in the vicinity of Donbass towns, which the militias are forced to defend. Incidents on the contact line result in daily civilian casualties. In particular, residential areas of Donetsk near the airport are regularly shelled from the towns of Avdeyevka and Peski, which are controlled by Ukrainian forces. On 6 November, a mortar shell launched from that area, the northwest – and this fact is confirmed by the OSCE observers – landed on a football field of the Donetsk sports school: two boys died and three more were wounded. A shelling of Donetsk with cluster munitions killed an employee of the International Committee of the Red Cross in early October.

In the Russian language, there is no plural form of the word «truth.» There’s only one truth, but lies come in many forms.

In connection with this withheld truth, it is quite logical to see the militias strengthening their positions in the areas that are being constantly attacked by the Ukrainian forces, which was noted by the OSCE observers. Seemingly, Kiev’s fear of the militia is so great that in order to justify its failures and the massive amount of people and equipment being sent to «the front,» it has once again started wailing loudly about allegedly imported Russian weapons and the «regular Russian army.»

Again, Western capitals and NATO are making loud statements about the armoured units allegedly moving into Ukraine from Russia. However, there are no facts or evidence of this, meaning that this is all empty talk, the usual false propagandistic statements. After all, it should be clear to everyone: the Russian-Ukrainian border is the focus of special attention and can be readily monitored, including from space.

It is discouraging to see the almost complete lack of reaction on the part of the OSCE Mission to the strengthening of the positions and the relocation of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and other formations (which are run by atamans, or «daddies» as a colleague in this audience put it, and it is unclear whom they answer to). On 9 November, heavy artillery and tanks entered Karlovka. On 8 November, Grad and Uragan salvo missile systems and Scud rocket launchers were brought into the Lugansk Region. Five hundred Ukrainian troops were deployed outside Red Talovka, Lugansk Region. On 7 November, 32 tanks came to the eastern districts of Gorlovka, and 13 tanks, 15 Shilka self-propelled anti-aircraft units, 7 tactical Tochka-U systems, six Grad multiple rocket launchers and a Smerch unit were deployed in Artyomovsk. A tank column arrived in Yasinovataya, a Donetsk suburb, on 6 November. These are statistics.

Why are such facts being hushed up? After all, everyone should realise that the lack of information on this subject in the OSCE reports creates a false and provocative picture. We hope that this gap will be filled.

Mr Chairman,

We proceed based on the assumption that the parties need to comply fully and thoroughly with the Minsk agreements. The primary issue is to establish a genuine ceasefire that would be responsibly respected by both parties.

No less important are the provisions of the agreements relating to decentralisation of power, establishing an inclusive national dialogue, and taking measures to improve the humanitarian and economic situation in Donbass. But the Ukrainian authorities are not doing anything.

We are also concerned by President Poroshenko’s decision to repeal the law on the special status of individual districts of the Lugansk and Donetsk regions. This is the cornerstone of the Minsk agreements, the purpose of which will thus be defeated. The law was not perfect and had limited legitimacy. The previous Verkhovna Rada has not designated the borders of the regions with special status, and the election date, 7 December, has not been agreed upon with representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk, and violated the Constitution of Ukraine as well. Nevertheless, this law could have been used for further negotiations between Kiev and militias. Kiev failed to comply with another important provision of the Minsk agreements, and the law on amnesty of the participants in the events has not gone into effect. Moreover, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada would like to repeal it altogether. No guarantees of personal safety for the participants in the consultations were provided, either.

With regard to the humanitarian component of the agreements, instead of measures to restore Donbass, the Ukrainian government approved a «new order» for financing Donbass budgetary institutions and making social and pension payments: they were simply repealed. How can we talk about trust on the part of ordinary people when their homes are being bombed and their livelihoods are being taken away? In this regard, we reject any charges having to do with Russia sending humanitarian aid convoys with food, medicines and building materials to Donetsk and Lugansk. They are simply immoral in these circumstances. Enough lies and fact spinning on this account. Kiev has all the information about every convoy ahead of time, but it is not cooperating. It would seem the fate of its own people in these areas is of little concern for it.

Mr Chairman,

Regarding the elections of 2 November in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions that several delegations have loudly claimed were not democratic, I’d like to emphasise the following.

Russia respects the will of the people of southeastern Ukraine. The elections were properly organised in general, with high turnout, and obviously not at gunpoint. Importantly, the elected representatives have received a mandate to restore normal life in these regions. They represent no threat to the Minsk agreements or peace process. Rather, they represent a unique opportunity to establish a sustainable dialogue between the central Ukrainian authorities and representatives of Donbass in order to find full-fledged political decisions to remove accumulated differences. Back in spring, we said that there is no alternative to a dialogue based on mutual respect and equal rights. It’s time for Kiev to fulfil the obligation it assumed in Geneva, the more so now that is has authorised negotiations partners.

Thank you.

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Response by First Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN Alexander Pankin during a UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine

Thank you, Mr Chairman,

I do not wish to engage in debates with the representative of Ukraine, but would nevertheless like to focus on just a few matters. I have already mentioned, and I reiterate, that a ceasefire and returning the situation to normalcy are our primary goals. This is something you have to believe in, and something you must strive for. Therefore, Mr Sergeyev, when we hear the statements that your representatives made in late October and early November, and recently, too, we have no confidence in Kiev being committed to a political and diplomatic solution to this conflict.

Right from the outset, we had the sense that the Kiev authorities were making no secret of the fact that they would use the ceasefire to regroup their troops and carry out other military tasks. To expand on what I said about one truth, I’d like to mention two quotes. The first is from Adviser to the President of Ukraine Yury Lutsenko. On 24 October, before the elections to the Verkhovna Rada, he said on TV: “The ceasefire and peace will work to our advantage. All four tank plants are working in three shifts. Several hundred repaired armoured vehicles arrived in the ATO area (the interpreters know what ATO means) during this time. We need a ceasefire to receive high-precision instruments, and military and financial aid from the West.” (unquote). Adviser to the head of the Ukrainian Security Service Lubkivsky, first on 2 November and then on 7 November said, also on television: “Sooner or later, we will have to take active actions,” adding that “overcoming the situation will take three to four years. I think we can win this war under the ‘Croatian scenario’. In 1991, Croatia started a war, and ended it in 1995 as a result of successful special operations.” (unquote). Those were not my words. We don’t hear anything about the implementation of the Minsk agreements. What we hear is words about winning on the battlefield.

My second point is that some actions do not help resolve the situation on your part. For example, a fairly serious issue of territorial delimitation was agreed upon by almost 80 percent. Suddenly, on 28 October, Ukrainian representative General Dumansky revoked his signature under the 80-percent-agreed line of the opposing forces, and did so without providing any explanations.

Finally, you asked me to answer right here and right now the question about why hundreds of units of Russian military equipment are concentrated near the Ukrainian border. First, I can’t answer this question properly, because I don’t know how true this statement is and where you are getting this information from. Monstrous figures. They made an impression in this audience. I was strongly impressed. I’m ready to provide a specific answer to this question. But you must agree that the Russian armed forces are located on the territory of my country. They do not threaten your country. They are moving within the territory of my country. Therefore, stoking passions in the Security Council to the effect that Ukraine is about to be massively invaded does not help in having a constructive dialogue, which everyone here stands for and calls for.

Thank you.