On Ongoing Events in Ukraine

As delivered by Ambassador Daniel B. Baer to the Permanent Council

Vienna, February 20, 2014

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Given how quickly and terribly things are changing on the ground right now, I’m not going to read the statement that was prepared. I just want to make a few quick points, and we will obviously continue to follow what’s going on in Kyiv and across Ukraine.

First, to express our deep sadness at the loss of life and our condolences to the representatives in this room but also to the Ukrainian people and the families of those who have lost their lives already. It’s quite clear that the first priority right now should be the preservation of human life and there needs to be an immediate return to a cease-fire of some sort and then an immediate start of negotiations that can de-escalate the tensions.

In terms of substance, I would refer those in this room to President Obama’s comments yesterday from Mexico as well as a briefing by a senior State Department official that has been posted on the website of the State Department and to other public comments from Washington. I know that Ambassador Pyatt and Ambassador  Tombinski have issued a statement this morning, and I refer those here to those statements.

Finally, to echo our EU colleagues, we very much support and appreciate the ongoing efforts of the Chairmanship. This is clearly a breakdown in security and people’s lives are being lost. We appreciate the Chairmanship’s efforts as the leader of this political organization of 57 to encourage and support a movement toward a peaceful resolution.

Thank you.