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Ministry of Foreign Affairs Daily Briefing
19 March 2014 18:08

The aggression of the armed forces of the Russian Federation, the blatant lies of the Russian Federation’s government officials and diplomats, and the illegal actions of the Russian collaborators in Crimea have resulted in an act of robbery and annexation, which has been sealed by the signatures of President Putin and the self-proclaimed leaders of Crimea.

Ukraine will never recognize the occupation and seizure of Crimea by the aggressor, carried out with severe breaches of bilateral agreements between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, with total disregard of Moscow’s international obligations, and in contempt of the United Nations Charter and all norms of international law.

Crimea was, is and always will be Ukrainian.  We will never accept the annexation or occupation of Crimea.  We will seek all possible methods to protect our citizens in Crimea, regardless of their nationality or religious affiliation.

Ukraine and the Ukrainian people call on the entire world community to support Ukraine in its struggle against the invaders. We should use all means possible to pressure the Russian Federation and together restore justice, avert the threat of the complete loss of trust and a new global standoff.

************

Yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine called out the Charge d’Affaires of the Russian Federation A. Vorobyov, to whom was given a note of protest against the recognition by the Russian Federation of the illegitimate Crimean Republic and the signing of the Treaty regarding the acceptance of the “Crimean Republic” and the city of Sevastopol as members of the Russian Federation.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that these acts by the Russian side violate the precepts and norms of international law regarding the guarantees of territorial integrity, the inviolability and acceptance of borders, and the prohibition of interfering in a state’s internal affairs.

Ukraine considers the above mentioned actions by the Russian Federation as an act of annexation, that is, a violent takeover of a portion of Ukraine’s territory.

According to the United Nations Charter, the Russian Federation, in its relations with Ukraine, is obligated to refrain from threatening to use or from using force, as well as from threatening the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, or any other act which defies the tenets of the United Nations.

Moreover, according to Article 2 of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation from 1997, the Russian side agreed to respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine and confirmed the inviolability of the border between the two countries.

“Ukraine categorically denounces the expansion of the sovereignty of the Russian Federation onto Ukrainian territory it has occupied,  and reserves the right to respond using all means allowed by international law and the laws of Ukraine”-the note of protest goes on to say.

**********************

Review of Events in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea

The Russian Federation continues to increase the number of military personnel and actively move military equipment into the Crimean peninsula, strengthen its military presence in the Black and Azov seas, interfere in the control of the airspace over Ukraine, and exert psychological pressure on the members of the armed forces of Ukraine, the border guards, and their families.

The blockading and capture of Ukrainian Armed Forces facilities persists. Consequently, on March 18, the soldiers of the Russian Federation and the so-called “self-defense” groups committed an armed attack on the soldiers of the 13th Photogrammatic center in Simferopil, resulting in the death from a gunshot wound to the cardiac region of ensign SV Kakurin, who was standing guard in a tower at the facility parking lot.

Additionally, Capt. VA Fedun was wounded by gunshots to the neck and arms. Yet another Ukrainian soldier was severely wounded in the leg and head from blows with clubs, armaments and other objects.

Unit commander Col. Andriy Andryushin was captured during negotiations, held in a separate area and forcibly made to change sides.

The capture of the State Border Service’s hospitals and healthcare facilities continues.

The soldiers of the Russian Federation and so-called “self-defense” groups initiated an armed assault on the offices of the Quartermaster in Simferopil and the air traffic control facility of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the village of Plodove, and captured the commanders of these posts, taking them to unknown locations.

Twenty armed men led by 2 men in Russian Army uniforms surrounded the Southern Army Mobilization Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (Novoozerne village) and blockaded the exit from the parking lots using civilian vehicles.

The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation continue to actively strengthen their position in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. In addition, a large number of Russian military ships are located on the waters of the Black and Azov seas. Specifically, there are 31 ships on the Black Sea and 2 in the Azov Sea.

Of note is the increased activity of Russian Federation military aircraft in Crimea’s airspace.

Over the last 24 hours, the number of Russian Federation military personnel has risen by 400, and as of today, there are 22,000 Russian soldiers deployed in Crimea.

Eighteen facilities of the Ukrainian government infrastructure (of which 12 are military) remain occupied, 35 facilities (of which 28 are military) remain blockaded, as are 57 military naval vessels (4 in Sevastopol Bay, 36 in Striletska Bay, and 17 in Novoozerne Bay).

*****************************************

The annexation of Crimea is being accompanied by atrocities on the side of the Russian soldiers and their minions in the so-called “self-defense” groups.  Each day we hear of intimidation, violence, moral and psychological pressure on Ukrainian soldiers, destruction of the property and homes of Ukrainian citizens, and yesterday-bloodshed.

We send our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the deceased ensign and of all the wounded in yesterday’s armed assault on the 13th Photogrammatic Center of the Headquarters of Operational Security of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Ukrainian soldiers have exhibited a steely resolve that up until now allowed for the absence of bloodshed, in the face of brutal aggression on the side of the Russian Federation soldiers.

However, it is clear that the aggressor seeks blood, and knowingly attempts provocations.

Today the world saw that Russia does not value human life. The Kremlin has demonstrated that it is ready to use bloodshed and human suffering, not to mention complete disregard for international law, to realize its neo-imperialist plans.

And those in attendance at the Russian President’s speech yesterday welcomed this crime against the Ukrainian nation and the entire civilized world with thunderous applause.

We are convinced that our brothers in Russia do not welcome these developments, do not want to live their lives cursed and in shame, as they are being forced to do by the current policy of the Kremlin.

We believe that the Russian aggressor will be met with strong resistance using all possible means allowed by international law.

************************************

In reference to the tragic events in Simferopil yesterday, the Charge d’Affaires of the Russian Federation was called out today to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.

The Russian diplomat was handed a note conveying the unequivocal condemnation of the actions of the Russian Federation aimed at provoking armed incidents and escalating the conflict in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.  Ukraine stressed that full responsibility for the consequences of the aggressive actions of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea that, as of March 18, include the killing and wounding of Ukrainian soldiers, and any provocations to armed conflict that occur during these incidents, lies wholly with the Russian Federation.

Ukraine categorically denounces the aggressive actions of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and calls on the Russian side to immediately cease all military intervention, remove their army from the territory of Ukraine, and begin a dialogue to solve the crisis arising in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

********************************************

Today the Ministry of Foreign Affairs made public another statement:

Ukraine categorically denies the statements by Russian officials and representatives of the administration of Prydnistrovya about the supposed blocking of delivery of supplies to the Russian Federation peace-keeping forces in the Prydnistrovya region of the Republic of Moldova.

These unsubstantiated claims have no basis in reality, and are a part of a massive propaganda campaign directed, mainly, to discredit Ukraine’s role in the Prydnistrovya settlement.

Due to the complexity of the political situation in our country provoked by the aggressive acts of the Russian Federation, the Ukrainian Border Service is conducting special operations “Kordon”, “Rezhym”, and “Rubizh” in areas near the borders with the Russian Federation and Moldova, resulting in increased border controls at all border crossings.

Recently, a large number of Russian citizens were denied entry onto the territory of Ukraine due to the absence of a purpose for their visit and presence of evidence that they would be taking part in provocations and extremist activities in the border regions.

At the same time, the situation at the Ukraine-Moldova border has on the whole remained normal. The number of denials of entry of Moldovan citizens into Ukraine has not increased and has remained steady.

We call upon the Russian Federation to cease this provocational rhetoric and immediately stop this political aggression, intimidation, and destabilization of the situation in the vicinity of Ukraine.

We also call upon the international community to use all means at your disposal to deny the Kremlin the opportunity to fan the flames of conflict and create new sources of instability in Europe.

****************************************

Regarding the appearance of information in the media about “automatic recognition as citizens of the Russian Federation” for those Ukrainian citizens who live in Crimea, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs again asserts, that according to the Ukrainian Law “Regarding Ukrainian Citizenship”, a person is no longer a citizen of Ukraine only when that person willingly gives up citizenship, citizenship is revoked, or in instances regulated by international agreements signed by Ukraine.

Therefore, the granting of foreign citizenship to a citizen of Ukraine without following the proper procedures of voluntarily giving up or revoking their Ukrainian citizenship cannot be seen as a legal reason to withdraw Ukrainian citizenship.

Also, according to Article 2, Paragraph 1 of the above mentioned law, if a citizen of Ukraine accepts citizenship in a foreign country or countries, in legal matters related to Ukraine he is treated as a Ukrainian citizen.

*****************************

Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the format of cooperation between Ukraine and the CIS

On December 8, 1991, Ukraine signed the Bilovezka agreement, and together with Russia and Belarus became one of the founding members of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Ukraine based its participation on the belief that the basic principles of this organization will be mutual respect for the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of each member-State, the integrity and inviolability of borders, renunciation of the use of force or threat of force, and commitment to the peaceful settlement of international disputes.

Unfortunately, recent events have shown otherwise.

Caught in a difficult security situation, Ukraine has made every effort to engage the CIS in helping to protect the territorial integrity and inviolability of its borders and the resolution of the conflict with the Russian Federation.

Ukraine initiated an extraordinary meeting of the Council of CIS Foreign Ministers in Kyiv. We urged all partners in the Commonwealth to endorse a political statement on the situation in  Crimea, to condemn the aggression against sovereign Ukrainian territory and to adhere to the basic principles of the Agreement establishing the CIS.

Ukraine deeply regrets that instead of implementing the task of establishing cooperation and resolution of conflicts in the former Soviet Union, the CIS has become a tool to realize the interests of its individual members, namely, the Russian Federation.

Especially outrageous is the support by the individual member-states of the CIS of the acts of the Russian Federation regarding the annexation of Ukrainian territory at odds with the principles of international law.

In view of the above, Ukraine has decided not to continue its presidency of the CIS in 2014.

An appropriate note will be sent to the CIS Executive Committee in the near future.

In light of the non-compliance by a majority of the CIS member states in fulfilling their obligations set forth in the Agreement of the CIS: the recognition and respect of the territorial integrity of each member, inviolability of borders, and cooperation in ensuring international peace and security: and because of political bias and inefficiency in the existing form of cooperation within the CIS, Ukraine reserves the right to consider whether it will continue to further participate in the activities of the Commonwealth.

********************************

Ukraine - OSCE

OSCE member states are in consultations on whether to send, in response to Ukraine’s request, an OSCE mission to monitor the situation in some regions of our country.

Ukraine underlines the need for expeditious approval of the relevant decision by the Permanent Council of the OSCE and the prompt start of the OSCE mission in these Ukrainian regions, where the situation deserves special attention from the international community.

During the discussion on March 18, for the second time, the OSCE Delegation of the Russian Federation blocked the adoption of the decision that was acceptable to all the other delegations.

***

Acting Foreign Minister of Ukraine Andriy Deshchitsa will participate in the meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, which is to be held March 20.  The acting Foreign Minister plans to deliver a speech on the current situation in our country.

***

On March 18, OSCE Chairman, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland Didier Burkhalter issued a statement which described the recent actions of the Russian Federation regarding Crimea  as “a violation of fundamental OSCE commitments" and called them "incompatible with international law.” He noted that such unilateral action is contrary to the Helsinki Final Act. The OSCE President stressed that none of the participating States should strengthen their security at the expense of any other State.

Didier Burkhalter also noted that the Swiss Chairmanship will continue to make all necessary efforts to resolve the situation.

Ukraine - UN

On March 19, 2014 an emergency open meeting of the Security Council is scheduled to consider the situation surrounding the Russian Federation's annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (Ukraine).

Reportedly, during the meeting of the members of the UN Security Council they will be briefed by Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Jan Eliasson, and Assistant Secretary General of the UN for Human Rights Ivan Šimonovic, both of which at the request of Ban Ki-moon recently visited Ukraine.

The meeting will be attended by the delegation of Ukraine.

***

On March 21-22, 2014  the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki -moon will visit Ukraine. Meetings are planned with the acting President of Ukraine, Speaker of the Parliament of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov, and Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

The main focus during the visit of Ban Ki-moon will be the settlement of the situation regarding the military aggression into and annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea by the Russian Federation.

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