Ongoing Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine

As delivered by Ambassador Daniel B. Baer to the Permanent Council
Vienna | September 4, 2014

We have consistently supported the effort of Ukrainian President Poroshenko to achieve a meaningful bilateral cease-fire that could lead to a peaceful political settlement of the conflict. The Kremlin distanced itself yesterday from talk of a ceasefire, saying – preposterously – it was not a party to the conflict, and the separatists insisted that Ukrainian security forces would first need to withdraw from Ukraine’s own territory.

As President Obama said yesterday, “It was not the government in Kyiv that destabilized eastern Ukraine; it’s been the pro-Russian separatists who are encouraged by Russia, financed by Russia, trained by Russia, supplied by Russia and armed by Russia. And the Russian forces that have now moved into Ukraine are not on a humanitarian or peacekeeping mission. They are Russian combat forces with Russian weapons in Russian tanks. Now, these are the facts. They are provable. They’re not subject to dispute.”

Mr. Chairperson, throughout this crisis, we have condemned Russia’s deliberate and repeated violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. As a result of its actions, Russia is more isolated now than at any time since the end of the Cold War. As the international community remains united in condemning Russia’s aggression and incursions into Ukraine – blatant violations of Russia’s obligations under international law – the United States has made clear that these ongoing actions will only bring more costs and consequences for Russia, including increased sanctions.

The United States continues to stand firm with its allies and partners in condemning Russia’s dangerous, escalatory actions. Despite calls for a diplomatic solution that allows Ukraine and Russia to co-exist peacefully, President Putin and Russia have repeatedly by-passed potential off-ramps to resolve the crisis diplomatically. Our position remains unwavering and clear: Russia must withdraw its forces from Ukraine, end its support to the separatist fighters, cease its destabilizing and provocative actions in Ukraine, and release all hostages. It must also end its occupation of Crimea, which remains an integral part of Ukraine.

Mr. Chairman, in addition to Russia’s blatant incursions into Ukraine, we remain deeply concerned by the continued detention of Ukrainian Army Lieutenant Nadia Savchenko, who was captured in eastern Ukraine and illegally transferred to Russia by separatists. We are particularly disturbed by reports that Lieutenant Savchenko could be moved to the Serbskiy Center psychiatric hospital in Moscow for psychiatric analysis and evaluation, a step reminiscent of the manner in which dissidents were treated in the Soviet Union. We call for Nadia Savchenko’s immediate release and further call on Russia to allow international humanitarian organizations access to her in detention.

Mr. Chairperson, we welcome the presence of the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) in the areas where a permissive environment exists. These invaluable monitors provide the urgent and clear-eyed reporting the international community seeks. We welcome the SMM’s rapid response as it established a presence in Mariupol last week. As we have stated before, we continue to urge that the SMM continue to play a strong and robust role in the region by ramping up to its full strength of 500 monitors.

Mr. Chairperson, the United States stands firmly with the people of Ukraine as they seek to solidify their democracy, independence, and stability. We continue to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.