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18 Dec, 2018 11:15

66 nations voted for whatever provocation now comes from Kiev – Russian senator

66 nations voted for whatever provocation now comes from Kiev – Russian senator

The nations which voted for the Ukrainian resolution on Crimea at the UN General Assembly will bear shared responsibility with Kiev, if it chooses to escalate tensions with Russia, a Russian senator said.

The resolution passed on Monday condemned the presence of the Russian military in the Crimean Peninsula and the surrounding waters of the Black Sea and the Azov Sea. It also criticizes Russia for construction of a bridge connecting the region with mainland. The document was supported by 66 members of the UNGA, while 19 voted against it. The majority of nations – 72, abstained from the vote.

“The resolution is not just useless, even if it’s non-binding legally,” said Konstantin Kosachev, the chair of the Russian Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee. “It may have political and military consequences. As a matter of fact, Kiev was given a go for all sort of action, even of the crazy kind.”

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Ukraine is currently in a perilous political situation with presidential elections scheduled for late March. The incumbent President Petro Poroshenko is scheduled for a humiliating defeat, judging by his approval ratings, and has the incentive to escalate tensions with Russia in an attempt to rally public support.

He already declared martial law in some parts of Ukraine after an incident in the Kerch Strait – the location of the Crimean bridge – which involved Ukrainian and Russian military boats. Kosachev believes Poroshenko may initiate further escalation for purely domestic reasons, and the UNGA resolution would play into his hands.

“It means that the 66 nations, which voted for the odious resolution on Crimea, will share responsibility for whatever further action Kiev takes, if they lead to a tragedy,” the senator warned.

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Meanwhile Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the presidential administration can “only express our disagreement with [the resolution] and our regrets.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry noted the lack of support for the document demonstrated by the large number of abstainers. “The Ukrainians don’t have the majority, so they will be trying to take this to other venues, since they realize that they cannot achieve any real change,” said Petr Ilyichev, the head of the ministry’s department for international organizations.

Senator Kosachev said that “militarization of Crimea” – the issue that the resolution is supposed to address – was simply Russia’s reaction to “Ukrainian military provocations” and the lack of reaction to them from Kiev’s foreign backers.

“Once the demonstrative military actions around Crimea stop, so will the ‘militarization’. It’s the consequence, not the cause.”

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