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 | November 6, 2014

The United States remains gravely concerned by the ongoing blatant disregard for OSCE principles and commitments by the Russian Federation in Ukraine, and Russia’s continued failure to implement fully the agreements it signed in Minsk. Over six months ago, when the Geneva Joint Statement was signed, the international community, including the United States, repeatedly urged Russia to implement its obligations and take the path of de-escalation; Russia failed. No one wants to see Russia fail again to take the path of de-escalation, and yet today, the international community finds itself forced to condemn Russia for failing yet again to live up to the commitments it has made. The United States joins the international community in urging Russia to comply with both the letter and the spirit of the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum.

In this vein, the United States is concerned by Russia’s response to the so-called “elections” conducted by separatists in eastern Ukraine on November 2. The United States does not recognize these so-called “elections” and will not recognize any of those chosen in what is an illegal and counterproductive exercise. Russia’s response to these so-called “elections” has been inconsistent with the Minsk Protocol agreements and only serves to deepen Russia’s isolation, which we witnessed most recently during the Permanent Council meetings on Monday and Tuesday, when OSCE participating States decried Russia’s actions in eastern Ukraine and urged it to implement fully all 12 points of the September 5 Minsk Protocol. The United Nations Secretary General added his voice to this chorus. There is a path back to the peace process, but that path is viable only if Russia and its proxies fully implement the commitments they made in the Minsk Protocol and agreements. Ukraine has made progress on its end of the deal. The time is long overdue for Russia and the separatists it supports to do the same. If they do not do so, there will be additional costs.

The attempted destruction of an OSCE monitoring tool threatens to derail the Special Monitoring Mission

Mr. Chair, as the Special Monitoring Mission seeks to execute its mandate in good faith and monitor the implementation of the Minsk agreements, we condemn recent actions such as the attempt by Russia-backed separatists to shoot down an OSCE UAV on November 2. We also condemn the multiple attempts to jam signals used to operate OSCE UAVs. The attempted destruction of an OSCE monitoring tool poses more than a threat to OSCE assets — it threatens to derail the Special Monitoring Mission and the process that seeks to establish facts so that the international community can better understand the situation in the separatist-controlled areas. These attacks on the OSCE UAVs are also a blatant violation of the Minsk agreements. These actions by the Russia-backed separatists must stop.

We are alarmed by reports of dozens of unmarked military trucks in eastern Ukraine carrying heavy weaponry and ammunition. We believe supplies are still being moved across the border into Ukraine and that these supplies have been supporting the separatists. We also are concerned by reports about separatists consistently shelling Mariupol. These actions must stop. Any attempt to push further into Ukraine would be another violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and a gross violation of the Minsk agreements signed by Russia, Ukraine, and the separatists.

The tragic deaths of children at a school yesterday is heartbreaking. We note Foreign Minister Klimkin’s quick request to the SMM to get to the scene, and his support for a full investigation.

It is Ukraine’s sovereign right to decide
who and what crosses its borders

Mr. Chair, we denounce Russia’s most recent violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity when it sent in a convoy of ten vehicles on November 4, purportedly for humanitarian aid. No international humanitarian organization was involved in vetting the convoy or in the distribution of its contents. We underscore that it is Ukraine’s sovereign right to decide who and what crosses its borders. We urge Russia to work through multilateral humanitarian organizations to ensure transparency and that humanitarian aid is neutral in order to avoid exacerbating an already dangerous situation.

Mr. Chair, we reiterate our call on Russia and the separatists it backs to fulfill their commitments under the Minsk Protocol and agreements by immediately stopping its obstruction of Ukrainian control over its border and cooperating to implement Ukraine’s border plan, which includes meaningful OSCE monitoring of the border and a heavy weapons-free security zone on both sides of the Russia-Ukraine border. In addition, Russia must withdraw all its forces and equipment from Ukraine, end support for the separatist forces, and release all hostages—including Nadiya Savchencko and Oleg Sentsov. Russia must also end its occupation of Crimea, which remains an integral part of Ukraine, and fully respect its neighbor’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

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