Right of Reply to Russia on its Ongoing Violations in Ukraine: Statement to the PC

United States nameplate in the Hofburg Congress Center's Neuer Saal, the location of many OSCE Permanent Council Meetings, Vienna, March 9, 2016. (USOSCE/Colin Peters)

I just wanted to respond to one part of the distinguished Russian colleague’s statement where he said that several colleagues around this table don’t care about anything happening in Ukraine other than Russia’s fuelling of the ongoing conflict.

Just to remind, the topic under which the United States speaks is “The ongoing violations of international law and defiance of OSCE principles and commitments by the Russian Federation in Ukraine,” and so we are speaking exclusively on that topic under this item. But we have spoken both in this forum and from the podium in Washington about other events in Ukraine– including the hack of journalists’ information, as I reported a few weeks ago, which was discussed from the podium by our State Department spokesperson. And given that the distinguished Russian ambassador has raised this again today, and our alleged ‘non-concern’ for other things happening Ukraine, I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Verkhovna Rada today for passing not only the constitutional provisions for judicial reform, but also the implementing legislation. Obviously this is one huge, positive, forward step, and it has to be followed up by more forward steps, not least the implementation of the actual legislation and the reform, but I think this is a really important step forward in reforming Ukraine’s judiciary in delivering on the promise of the Revolution of Dignity, and what people were on the Maidan demanding: a government that respects the human rights of its people, and is moving towards a truly independent judiciary.

And I look forward to the day that such reforms are taken in Russia as well.

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