Thank you for a very timely initiative to hold this Open Debate.
Ukraine aligns itself with the statement which will be made by the European Union later today. At the same time I would like to make a statement in my national capacity.
This year we are marking the 70th anniversary since the end of World War II and since the founding member states signed the Charter of the United Nations seeking to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”.
To these ends, the member states set out clear Purposes and Principles which for 70 years remain to be a cornerstone of the international relations. Remarkably, it was the Ukrainian representative who led the committee which worked out this crucial part of the UN Charter in remote 1945.
70 years later the world order based upon the noble Purposes and comprehensive Principles of the UN Charter is under a major attack.
The Russian Federation has blatantly violated sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine. It used all means from interference into Ukraine’s internal affairs to direct military aggression and partial occupation of the Ukrainian sovereign territory, from political and economic coercion to a massive propaganda assault. Without exaggeration, Russia unleashed a hybrid war on Ukraine.
It is horrifying that these flagrant violations have been committed by a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council that bears a special responsibility for maintaining international peace and security.
Russia ignores the provisions of the UN Charter and does not respect its political and legal obligations emanating from other international agreements, including the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances to Ukraine. To justify its brutal actions, it hides behind barefaced misinterpretation of the relevant documents and its related commitments.
As we prepare to mark the anniversary of the founding of the United Nations and its Principles, we must do everything possible to ensure that this organization remains a key player in maintaining international peace and security.
To this end, three things should be done.
First, we must apply all efforts to uphold the Purposes and Principles of the UN Charter. It is essential to reaffirm their universal and unconditional validity as a basis for peaceful relations.
Second, we must elaborate on mechanisms to ensure verification of compliance with the UN Principles against clear benchmarks. It is unacceptable that gross violations go disregarded as they are masterfully misinterpreted, concealed or merely denied. Historically, many hopes were placed on bona fide adherence of the member states to the rules. Yet, an old diplomatic adage, which says “Trust, but verify”, at times turns out to be especially fitting.
Third, we must ensure that the states which violate the UN Principles are brought to justice. The concept of international responsibility should be reinforced with a clear set of sanctions on the infringers.
Only in this way trust and order in the world will be restored.
It is clear that the reform of the United Nations isabsolutely needed to address its limitations. Should the organization have been upgraded, Ukraine would not have to pay a blood tribute now.
Yet, the reform process will still take time.
However, the drastic situation in the eastern parts of Ukraine, which Russia has turned from fertile fields into scorched land, requires an immediate response.
As we are about to commemorate the victory in the Second World War, we must do everything possible to curtail Russia’s growing militarism and expansionism and avert its defiance of the international law.
The Russian side ignores the recent Minsk agreements that outline comprehensive measures towards the political settlement. In particular, Russia and its proxies in eastern parts of Ukraine not only disregard the cease-fire, which is designed to trigger the entire Minsk package, but also undertook an offensive on the town of Debaltseve and continues attacking other Ukrainian towns and villages.
Militants and their Russian masters have blocked the activities of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission which was vested with a special authority to monitor the cease-fire andwithdrawal of heavy weapons from the contact line.
We cannot afford losing more servicemen whose death toll has already exceeded 1,500. We cannot tolerate that our innocent civilians continue to die under constant shelling by terrorists and Russian regular forces. We cannot stand that Ukrainian citizens in the occupied areas are deprived of basic conditions for a normal life and their rights are abused.
We cannot watch the Minsk agreements being continuously violated while Russia keeps transferring most sophisticated offensive weapons into the east of Ukraine and turning Ukraine into a shooting range. We cannot accept that Russia has turned Crimea into an isolated military camp and its residents into recluses.
Lastly, we cannot accept that some still behave as if nothing is happening and as if there are no red lines for the aggression.
In this regard, we consider requesting the United Nations to deploy a peacekeeping operation in Ukraine. This initiative does not strike off the Minsk agreements. To the contrary, we view this operation as an indispensable instrument to ultimately help implement these agreements and bring peace back.
We expect that the member states of the United Nations and, in the first place, of the UN Security Council will support such request for assistance.
In our view, this will be a “crush test” for the United Nations’ ability to maintain international peace and security.
Thank you for your attention.