The Kiev leadership, which vowed its military would “never use force against civilians” and would risk their lives to keep people away from harm, conduct their op with “outrageous atrocity” resulting in multiple casualties, said Russia’s UN ambassador.
Below is the full transcript of the statement by Vitaly Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, at the UN Security Council Monthly Assessment Meeting on July 30, 2014.
The work of the Security Council in July coincided with the escalation of several regional crises. Unfortunately, the Council has been unable to play the role the international community expects it to play. The operation in the Gaza Strip continues, resulting in a significant number of casualties among the Palestinians, and the shelling of Israeli territory continues as well. While the statement by the Security Council President on the situation in Gaza, adopted on July 28, was quite appropriate, it was insufficient and came too late. In such cases, the efficiency of the Security Council obviously depends on the so-called pen holders and delegations from the respective region showing initiative.
Israeli-Palestinian confrontation has been often known to flare up when unilateral US efforts to reconcile the two parties fail yet again. We have repeatedly emphasized that secretive negotiations have outlived their usefulness. There has long been the need to work out a more efficient instrument for conflict resolution. We expect more in-depth consultations to take place in September on the sidelines of the General Assembly session, including a detailed discussion of the Middle East conflict at the Quartet ministerial meeting. We also suggest holding an informal “brainstorming” session as early as August, which is to be attended by a high-ranking Washington official directly involved in the Middle East talks. At this session, we hope to talk about the current developments and explore the factors hampering the peace process.
Right now the primary goal certainly consists in achieving a sustainable ceasefire between Israel and the Gaza Strip at the earliest possible date.
We were all shocked by the horrendous tragedy that occurred in Ukraine on July 17 and resulted in the deaths of 298 passengers of the Malaysia Airlines flight. The UN Security Council promptly adopted Resolution 2166 that stresses the need for a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines, with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) playing its role.
The resolution contains an important provision, which was included at the behest of the Russian delegation. It calls for all military activities to be immediately ceased in the immediate area surrounding the crash site to allow for security and safety of the international investigation.
The Ukrainian president ordered a ceasefire within a radius of 40 km from the site of the tragedy. However, this promise was immediately broken and Ukrainian officials publicly announced their new goal – to ‘mop up’ and secure the area. Such actions directly violate UN Security Council Resolution 2166 and pose a great threat to conducting an objective and unbiased international investigation. We fear that the Kiev authorities seek to destroy the evidence exposing their involvement in the Malaysian airliner crash.
In this regard, the Russian delegation suggested that the Council should adopt a clear and simple press statement reiterating the call for ceasefire included in Resolution 2166. However, the proposal was unceremoniously blocked by some Security Council members, who are clearly not interested in full implementation of Resolution 2166.
We support today’s statement by the UN Secretary General who called for immediate cessation of hostilities around the crash site.
The Netherlands, Australia and Malaysia have dispatched large groups of their experts to Kiev and Donetsk to examine the crash site. Many of them have established working ties with the militiamen. For example, Australia’s special envoy Angus Houston pointed out the professionalism of the militiamen, their constructive position and willingness to assist the investigation.
Yet the investigators still haven’t reached the crash site.
Russia provides comprehensive assistance to the investigation. Based on its experience, Russia's federal air transport agency promptly came up with a list of questions that need to be clarified to reveal the full picture of the tragedy. Our experts got down to work as soon as they were invited to join by the Netherlands, which is playing the leading role in the international investigation. We handed over our monitoring data from the crash area to international organizations, including the UN and the OSCE. We hope other countries follow our example and take specific and constructive steps instead of spreading unsubstantiated accusations and insinuations.
Earlier this month we saw a glimmer of hope that the vicious circle of violence in Ukraine can finally be broken. On July 2, the foreign ministers of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine adopted the Berlin Declaration. President Poroshenko issued a remarkable statement:
“Most of those living in the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions are hard-working and peace-loving people. They have had a chance to feel our empathy, love, and respect. The Armed Forces of Ukraine, the National Guard and other services will never use force against civilians. They will never attack residential areas. Ukrainian soldiers and guardsmen will risk their own lives to keep women, children and the elderly out of harm’s way. The Ukrainian military have always been chivalrous.”
Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
However, in reality the Kiev authorities conduct their military campaign with outrageous atrocity. Donetsk, Lugansk, Gorlovka and many other cities suffered massive bombardment, including indiscriminate shelling with Grad rocket launchers and air strikes. The targets include civilian buildings, such as transport routes, utilities, hospitals and residential areas. Dozens of civilians have been killed in Gorlovka alone. In most of these cases, there were even no militiamen in sight. And what about the recent reports regarding the use of ballistic missiles by the Ukrainian army? Doesn’t this mean that the military conflict is spiraling out of control?
All this fully supports our assessment that the Kiev authorities are conducting a punitive operation against their own people.
Even the official estimate puts the death toll at over one thousand civilians, while unofficial reports claim it’s much higher. Just today, at least 19 people were killed. Refugees continue to arrive in Russia. More than 150,000 people have applied for temporary asylum, residence permit or Russian citizenship. The number of people crossing the border and staying in Russia runs into hundreds of thousands.
The shells fired by the Ukrainian military continue to hit Russian territory. On July 29, Russian customs officers at the Gukovo crossing once again became their target. Apparently, Kiev doesn’t want the OSCE observers monitoring the situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border to do their job. We demand that Kiev stop shelling Russian territory and undermining the security of the international observers.
We have repeatedly warned against any attempts to resolving the political crisis in Ukraine by means of force. We have called for a mutually respectful inclusive dialogue between all the major political forces, between Kiev and the regions. The priority now should be to end the hostilities and to establish a peaceful negotiation process on the basis of the Geneva Statement of April 17 and the Berlin Declaration of July 2.
Among other issues, an important step of the international community in its fight against terrorism was the statement of the President of the Security Council adopted on July 28 as suggested by Russia, which condemned the illegal oil trade with terrorist groups operating in Syria and Iraq.
Successful implementation of Resolution 2165 of July 14 would hopefully lessen the suffering of civilians in Syria.
In their speeches at the meeting of the Security Council on July 17, Secretary Generals’ Special Representative Tarek Mitri and Libyan Foreign Minister Monamed Abdelaziz confirmed that the situation in the country has been degrading like a snowball. We cannot rule out the country’s possible breakup into warring territories. The extremists that have established communication channels with their cohorts across the Middle East and North Africa feel quite at ease in this country. The UN mission’s withdrawal and evacuation of a number of Western embassies’ staff are a strong example of the present escalation. Perhaps we should reconsider the nature and the mission of the UN presence in Libya.
We are still deeply concerned about the situation in Iraq. The current escalation is due to the external support rendered for the terrorists in Syria, even though the roots of this situation go back to the events of 2003. Now the Islamists are presenting a threat for the entire Middle East and beyond. Iraq alone should be in charge of forming its new system of government. This is the only way to ensure national accord in this country.
We’d like to mention the meeting initiated by Rwanda on the issues of interaction between the UN and regional peacekeeping organizations on July 28. We support the intensification of this collaboration based on Chapter VIII of the UN Charter.
In conclusion, we’d like to wish success to the UK delegation, which will hold presidency of the Council in August.