Reply to the Russian Federation on Russian forces in Ukraine

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

I just wanted to clarify, and it’s possible I misunderstood the translation, but the United States has presented, as have other international actors, enormous amounts of evidence, not only of the latest escalation by the Russian Federation having regular Russian forces operating in large numbers on Ukrainian soil, but of the past violations of the Russian Federation.

The fact that the SMM has been unable to operate in the areas where conflict is happening, and where the Russian forces are operating, means that they don’t have the opportunity to see these tanks up close, and these men up close, but the absence of reporting on that in SMM reports is not the evidence of the absence of those tanks and fighters.

So the United States is confident, as is the international community, that Russia has escalated its actions in the last week by sending regular forces into Ukraine, that the augmentation of Russian misdeeds in Ukraine explains the heightening of violence, and the fact that the SMM is unable to get to the areas of conflict and be able to witness first hand is regrettable, but is not proof that the fighting is not happening, or that the participants are not there.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.