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17 Feb, 2015 20:16

Russian draft resolution on Ukraine passed by UN Security Council

The United Nations Security Council has voted unanimously to approve a Russia-drafted resolution to support the Minsk agreements, reached by the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine last week.

The resolution was submitted to the UNSC by Russia on February 13, a day after the Minsk deal was agreed on. It is aimed at endorsing and executing the Minsk agreements. The document also expresses concern over the continuing violence in eastern Ukraine, and stresses the importance of resolving the conflict peacefully.

“After the unprecedented diplomatic efforts last week, Ukraine has a chance to turn a dramatic page in its history,” said Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin, who expressed “gratitude” towards the other parties for endorsing the document.

READ MORE: The Minsk ceasefire deal, point by point

Moscow would aid “in full” the realization of the agreement, he added.

The resolution calls for a “total ceasefire” and a “political solution” that respects the “sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine”.

Despite the unanimous vote on the resolution, a number of UN Security Council delegations keep selectively interpreting the new Minsk agreement, Churkin said.

“We are disappointed with the discussion, because some of our colleagues have gone on the usual rhetoric route, often the rhetoric was not harmless. Especially harmful in the present circumstances is an attempt to rewrite the Minsk agreement,” the Russian diplomat told the council.

Churkin urged the warring parties in Ukraine to create proper security conditions for the OSCE monitoring mission in the conflict zone and Debaltsevo, in particular.

“It is because of the continued shelling of cities, that the Minsk Agreement of September did not last as originally planned. Indeed, the OSCE observers should work including in the area of Debaltsevo, but in order to do so, they must be provided with security. We all have to remember that these are unarmed people, although in armored vehicles, but still without certain security conditions, it is difficult to expect that they will be able to effectively control something there,” said Churkin.

During the heated debate in the chamber, Churkin repeatedly urged the Ukrainian side to enter into dialogue with representatives of its own country’s east – instead of constantly blaming Moscow for interfering the conflict.

“You just cannot establish this dialogue! This is why we keep telling you: Start the dialogue with the residents of the east. And you say that we are interfering... and then we are getting asked: What do they want, the people of the east? Well, they want federalization. Find a dialogue!” Churkin said in rebuttal to his Ukrainian colleague.

The debate with his Latvian and Ukrainian counterparts became so tense that Churkin had to ask the chair of the meeting to calm down the other members. The Russian envoy meanwhile took time to stress that in fact it is irrelevant where the demarcation line will stretch, as long that the sides are talking about the “reintegration of Ukrainian territory.”

“Are you planning to demarcate a state border there?! Well, let’s demarcate a border then, and look differently at this issue,” Churkin said rhetorically.

The Russian diplomat urged all parties involved to interpret the Minsk agreement “letter by letter” in order for the ceasefire to last.

Чуркин: Киев сначала отрицал окружение, а потом запретил своим солдатам складывать оружие http://t.co/xmb0KwfJM7pic.twitter.com/ySRexgAxZv

— RT на русском (@RT_russian) February 17, 2015

The plan, hammered out during 16-hour negotiations on February 12, stipulates the comprehensive ceasefire, the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the frontline, an all-for-all prisoner exchange, and passage for humanitarian aid convoys.

In the medium turn, the Minsk peace plan calls for the withdrawal of any “foreign troops” and “mercenaries” from the conflict zone, general amnesty for the rebels and the OSCE using its drone fleet and monitors on the ground to ensure the implementation of agreements. It also provides for handing back of the border controls of the Ukrainian government, and lifting of the economic blockade that Kiev imposed on the eastern regions.

Eventually, the treaty proposes new elections in eastern Ukraine and a decentralization that would grant more power to the rebel regions.