MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –
Dear Madam Chairperson,
We state the lack of progress in resolving the crisis in eastern Ukraine. The progress that could have taken place at the next round of meetings of the Contact Group and its working subgroups on June 22-23 turned out to be impossible due to the obstructionist position taken by the Ukrainian authorities. Kiev continues to shy away from work on the implementation of the Minsk Agreements on the basis of a substantive direct dialogue with representatives of certain regions of Donbass. Against this background, with the support of a number of foreign political sponsors of the current leadership of Ukraine, they continue to spread the myth of the imaginary “Russian aggression” there, only postponing the prospect of internal Ukrainian agreements on peace. As a result, the discussions held in the Contact Group, unfortunately, again ended in vain.
On the eve of these meetings in Donbass, the Ukrainian military committed another armed provocation. The handwriting is the same: to all appearances, there is a desire to provoke a local aggravation just before the meeting of the Contact Group, in order to block, with reference to the unsatisfactory security situation, a political settlement, among other things.
According to the Donetsk authorities, on June 21, four were killed and five representatives of the Donbass militia were killed in the area of the settlements Lozovoe and Staromikhaylovka in certain areas of the Donetsk region as a result of a mortar attack, and then a grenade launcher attack on the sanitary (I emphasize – sanitary!) Transport of the militia, which followed with the knowledge of the Ukrainian side with identification marks. It is noted that the shelling was carried out from Krasnohorivka, controlled by the armed forces of Ukraine. Dozens of shell explosions in this area were also recorded by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) (report dated June 22). Let us emphasize that these incidents occurred in the context of the measures to strengthen the ceasefire of July 22, 2020, prohibiting the opening of any type of fire.
Over the past two weeks, this is the second armed provocation, creating tension in the Donbass. As a reminder, on June 11, a sabotage and reconnaissance group of the Ukrainian military attacked an observation post of the Luhansk militia near the village of Golubovskoye – then five people were killed. By a strange coincidence, this sortie was made after a telephone conversation between the presidents of Ukraine and the United States on June 8 and after V.A. seven ”, NATO, EU-US, as well as meetings of Presidents Vladimir Putin and Dzh.Biden.
The ceasefire can and should be respected provided that the tactics of armed provocations are abandoned and the coordination mechanism for responding to violations is fully activated with the assistance of the Joint Center for Coordination and Control (JCCC) in the current composition – as prescribed by the existing agreements. The Ukrainian military continues to stubbornly evade appropriate contacts with representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk in the current composition of the JCCC, thereby undermining the “regime of silence.”
Kiev’s reluctance to enter into dialogue with the Donbass is hampering progress on all aspects of the settlement. This also applies to humanitarian aspects. On June 21, during an informal briefing for the OSCE participating States, this was unambiguously indicated by the coordinator of the humanitarian subgroup of the Contact Group, T. Frisch. We fully share his opinion that a sustainable settlement is impossible without a direct dialogue between the representatives of Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk. Elements of such a dialogue took place within the framework of direct contacts through the ombudsmen of the parties, which facilitated several rounds of exchanges of detainees in Donbass. At the same time, from the middle of last year to the present, there has been a clear lack of political will on the part of Kiev to continue such a dialogue.
Here are just a couple of examples that the distinguished coordinator T. Frisch drew attention to. The Ukrainian authorities have not implemented the so-called. “Procedural clearing” of the majority of persons transferred to Donbass in the framework of the exchanges that took place. Criminal proceedings have not been stopped, and even reopened against some of the exchange participants, as a result of which they were again put on the wanted list. Thus, the written obligations of the head of the Ukrainian delegation to the Contact Group of December 2019 and April 2020 on the provision by Kiev of legal guarantees of further criminal non-prosecution of the released Donbass residents remain unfulfilled. All this does not allow the parties to start preparing the next exchanges.
It is noteworthy that having blocked the work on the release of persons associated with the conflict and keeping many of them on its territory, the Ukrainian side refuses to agree with Donbass in the Contact Group on a declaration against the use of torture, to which Donetsk and Luhansk have given their preliminary consent long ago. It is significant that the representatives of Ukraine did not discuss this issue even on the eve of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, which is celebrated on 26 June.
Finally, difficulties remain with the implementation of one of the key recommendations of the Normandy Four summit in Paris on December 9, 2019 – to agree and open new checkpoints on the line of contact based on humanitarian criteria. They are also caused by the unwillingness of the Ukrainian side to maintain constructive contacts with Donbass. Thus, the simultaneous opening of two checkpoints “Zolotoe” and “Happiness” on both sides of the contact line in the Luhansk region is difficult due to the unwillingness of Kiev to provide round-the-clock security guarantees there, as well as to provide mirror patrols by the parties of the areas adjacent to the contact line. These measures are necessary for the safe movement of civilians.
To other subjects. As we pointed out in our last speech, on June 15 in Kiev, a many-thousand prayer stand of believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) took place, the participants of which gathered from all over the country and spoke before the walls of the Verkhovna Rada, and also came to the building of the Office of the President of Ukraine. They conveyed to the authorities their proposals on ways to overcome the destructive interference of the Ukrainian authorities in religious affairs and to end pressure on the UOC, as well as measures to protect its believers from further discrimination. V. Zelensky also reacted to this event.
Unfortunately, the SMM completely ignored this mass gathering, not reporting it in either its daily or weekly reports. At the same time, the Mission’s reports contain, for example, information about a small picket held in front of the parliament building on the issues of state regulation of film production. We call on the Mission to fulfill its mandate fully and responsibly. Facts matter.
We also call on the OSCE not to diminish the attention of the OSCE to the continuing violations by the Ukrainian authorities of the rights of journalists of non-state media, the establishment of censorship in the information field, the suppression of dissent and the persecution of dissidents. Information is in demand on the development of the situation in connection with the extrajudicial ban by President V. Zelensky of eight television companies, including the three largest national news TV channels – “112 Ukraine”, “NewsOne” and “ZIK”, as well as the blocking of hundreds of Internet resources, including news portals posted in the domain zones of Ukraine, Russia, Germany, Italy and Israel. In this context, it is important not only the SMM’s activities to monitor and support human rights and fundamental freedoms, but also the effective response of the specialized institutions of our Organization, including the ODIHR and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, which would be aimed at preventing Kiev from violating OSCE commitments.
We call on the foreign curators of the current Ukrainian authorities to influence them in order to induce a constructive national dialogue. The crisis in eastern Ukraine can and must be resolved on the basis of the full implementation of the “Package of Measures” dated February 12, 2015, approved by Resolution 2202 of the UN Security Council and which is the uncontested basis for peace in Donbass. The direct dialogue between the representatives of Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk within the framework of the Contact Group prescribed by him is an integral element of this process, necessary for achieving a viable settlement.
Thank you for attention.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.