Request for Consultation on Russian Military build-up on Ukraine Border

As delivered by Ambassador Daniel B. Baer
to the Joint Forum for Security Cooperation and Permanent Council,
Vienna April 7, 2014

The United States appreciates your convening of this meeting at our request, among others.  We regret that the need for such a meeting became imperative in the face of the Russian Federation’s refusal to participate in the meeting we requested in notification CBM/US/14/0013/F12/O – thus disregarding its commitment to participate in such a meeting described in Chapter III, paragraph 16.2 of the Vienna Document 2011 (PDF 115 KB).

As colleagues in the room are well aware, the purpose of that requested meeting was to seek information about unusual Russian military activities on its territory in the border region with Ukraine.  The United States was seeking an opportunity for a thorough discussion of questions and concerns raised by those ongoing unusual Russian military activities.  Despite the Russian Federation’s response asserting that this military activity “does not threaten the security of the United States and other OSCE states parties”, the United States continues to have serious concerns and questions regarding this deployment.

We reject the Russian Federation’s comment that the use of Chapter III measures by the United States is “unfounded”.  Our concerns are serious and genuine.  This Russian military activity has given rise to specific concerns about the security of at least one OSCE State, Ukraine, and has generated questions and concerns among many neighbors as well.

Mr. Chairman, the Vienna Document (PDF 115 KB) is this Organization’s signature confidence- and security-building tool and we object to the Russian Federation’s disregard for the Document’s risk reduction provisions – provisions that were agreed by consensus to be a viable avenue for consultation when States have security concerns about the unusual and unscheduled military activities of another State.

It is regrettable that the Russian Federation has elected not to attend today’s meeting. The refusal to engage in dialogue and discussion further calls into question the Russian Federation’s intentions and further damages Russia’s stature and status in the international community. While it was a few states who requested this meeting, it is all of us around this table who as signatories of the Vienna Document (PDF 115 KB) are entitled to benefit from an exchange of information. Russia’s contempt for the principles of this organization and for each of our governments is deeply regrettable.

I request that this statement be attached to the Journal of the Day.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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