Kiev must stop war on Ukrainians – Russia’s envoy to UN
The international community must demand that those who are in power in Kiev stop war on their own citizens in south-eastern Ukraine, Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin told the UN Security Council.
“The international community must demand the stooges of Maidan stop the war against their own people", Churkin said at an emergency Security Council session.
Churkin stressed that “reckless actions” of the Kiev government are “threatening to rip apart the delicate garment of Ukrainian mosaic society.”
Kiev’s post-coup authorities “stubbornly,” Churkin says, refuse to listen to those who do not accept Kiev's “radicalized, chauvinistic, russophobic, anti-Semitic forces.”
“Some, including those in this hall, constantly look for Moscow's hand in the events in the southeast , persistently without wishing to see the true reasons of the events in Ukraine. Quit doing it,” Churkin told the meeting.
“Quit spreading tales that we built up military armadas on the border with this country, ready at any moment, within a few hours to reach almost as far as La Manche, that we sent hordes of agents to coordinate actions of the protesting people of Ukraine.”
Monstrous russophobia bordering on hatred became the norm in the Verhovna Rada, Churkin reminded. “These beings deserve only one thing – death,” Churkin quoted a recent female Svoboda party MP’s statement about protesters in the East. And such views are widely shared among her “brutal co-party members,” he added.
The people's outcry in the East was indeed answered by Ukraine Parliament – with “draconian laws” threatening them long term imprisonment for “separatism” and “terrorism,” Churkin said.
US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power used a chance to accuse Russia of directly intervening and orchestrating the protests in Ukraine.
“You heard that there are no Russian troops in eastern Ukraine but the fact is that many of the armed units that we have seen were outfitted in bullet proof vests, camouflage uniforms with insignia removed,” Power said.
“We know who is behind this. Indeed the only entity in the area capable of coordinating these professional military actions is Russia,” Power claimed.
In his turn, Ukraine's Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev said that “Russia has not only constantly been increasing its troops alongside the Ukrainian border but also sending subversive groups into Ukrainian regions in order to destabilize the situation,” accusing Russia of orchestrating a full-scale “terrorist operation” in the East.
Taking the floor for the second time, Churkin warned that the deadline was looming, and that prospects of holding negotiations next week would be undermined if Kiev uses force against its people in the East, Churkin said in his rebuttal to the accusations by other members of the UNSC.
“Let’s move aside from speculations, accusations, from searching for Russian phantoms flying all over different corners of Ukraine, but let’s concentrate attention on what we can do – in this case I'm directing my eyesight at my Western colleagues – in order to prevent the Kiev authorities’ reckless actions, which at this moment are embodied in the criminal order of Mr. Turchinov, and to prevent the realization of this order, which will have the most severe implications primarily for the people of Ukraine.”
In response to his Ukrainian colleague’s accusations that Russia is engaged in supporting terrorism in Ukraine, Churkin responded: “Why did you not accuse of terrorism those who were terrorizing your government for a span of several months?”
“Those who actually terrorized the security forces, who actually set on fire the policemen, shot at them, just like they did at those who were protesting against the authorities and seemingly acted on their side. Those people, for some reason, you did not call terrorists, and even relieved them from any liability for their criminal actions that were conducted over several months.”
Churkin called accusations against Russia “ridiculous” pointing out that Russia's calls to start negotiations at the beginning of the crisis were ignored. “Why did you encourage this crisis?” Churkin asked.
“Russia, throughout the stretch of the Ukrainian crisis spoke out not for aggravation of the crisis, not to destabilize the country,” but to “keep the situation stable” in the neighboring country, Churkin told the UNSC, adding, “it is not our fault what we are witnessing there.”
He also questioned the role the US plays in the EU decision making process, citing the fact that Washington was quick to answer President's Putin letter addressed to EU nations, on gas transit to Europe. “We will have to wait and see if there is any sovereignty left in the EU. Can it independently make decisions that could lead the situation out of crisis?”
Churkin also stressed that Russia repeatedly stated that constitutional reform mentioned in February 21 agreement has to be implemented to avoid the escalation of tensions. He also stressed that FM Sergey Lavrov in his conversations with his counterpart John Kerry, always tries to explain to him the position of pro-federalization activists, so the US can get a full picture of the tension in Ukraine.
And while Russia and the US continue their talks, Churkin says, some politicians in the US already state that these conversations “will not lead to anything” and are just being conducted by the US to “occupy time.”
“Occupy time? So, does that means that someone in Washington actually has something like Turchinov’s armed scenario in their heads? If so, let’s not accuse Russia of seeking to destabilize the situation.”
Churkin also accused the West of double standards, pointing out the fact that the West encouraged actions to overthrow the government in Kiev in February, while at the same time condemning the events in the East of the country, where people reject the new rule forcefully imposed on them.
Russia's UN envoy also said that there seems to be a total disconnect in Kiev's approach to the crisis, as the acting prime minister Yatsenyuk is talking of the possibility of referendum while Turchinov at the same time is giving crackdown orders. “It seems they prefer to use force,” Churkin said.
When Samantha Power took the floor for the second time she stressed the US consistently “called for de-escalation and urged restraint” when dealing with the Ukrainian crisis, saying “there has been no shortage of evidence in diplomacy.”
She once again blamed Russia for fuelling Ukrainian crisis.
“It is not the United States that escalated the situation. It is the Russian Federation,” Power said, stating that it is hard to “reconcile the behavior of the Russian Federation, the propaganda of the Russian Federation, the military actions of the Russian Federation which range from the massing of 40,000 troops at the border to the subversive activities inside Ukraine” with “this appeal for diplomacy and de-escalation, and an appeal we wish was in fact sincere.”
Power said that Russia's point of view is “rooted in the idea that the internet does not exist” where people can see all the "evidence." She claimed that pro-federalization rallies are not protests, but instead are a series of military operations by “professional forces, carrying weapons, Russian made weapons as it happens, carrying out sophisticated, complicated military operations across a substantial number of eastern Ukrainian cities.”
Finally, Powers said that the “credibility of the Russian Federation has been greatly undermined.”
In his final address to the council, Churkin expressed hope that his calls will eventually find some response, and the bloodshed in Ukraine will be prevented while there is still time.
“Maybe, he Vice President Biden will pick up the phone and call Mr. Turchinov, as he numerously called Mr. Yanukovich before Feb 21?” Churkin asked. “Just call to tell Mr. Turchinov the same thing he told Mr. Yanukovich. He told him, as press service of vice president reported: 'For god's sake don’t use force, get rid of your security forces from central Kiev.”
“And now what, the US will endorse the realization of this criminal order to use armed forces?” Churkin said, urging Samantha Power to tell Biden to "immediately" call Kiev instead of waiting for a planned visit, as "in a couple of hours the situation can take an irreversible turn."
The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting requested by Russia to discuss the Kiev’s decision to use military forces to crush protests in Eastern Ukraine.
The United Nations Security Council emergency session was requested by Russia to discuss Ukraine’s declaration of a so-called “anti-terrorist operation” against pro-federation protesters in Eastern Ukraine.
The session was initially planned to be closed, but several Security Council members were pushing for an open format.
The urgent meeting comes after the coup-imposed Kiev government authorized the use of the military in Ukraine’s south-eastern regions to supress the popular uprising.
Events on the ground have taken a very dangerous turn, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday, slamming the order of a full-scale military operation as “criminal.”
“The Kiev authorities, who self-proclaimed themselves as a result of a coup, have embarked on the violent military suppression of the protests,” the ministry said adding that the rallies, which have gripped the Donbas region were prompted by Kiev’s disregard of the legitimate interests the people.