Ukraine’s participation in the Nuclear Security Summit
On March 24, 2014 acting Foreign Minister of Ukraine Andrii Deshchytsia took part in the Nuclear Security Summit in the Hauge, Nethelands.
The minister addressed the plenary session of the summit dedicated to the continued reduction of nuclear weapons and their security.
In his speech, the minister reminded everyone that Ukraine obtained guarantees of security, territorial integrity and independence from the signatories of the Budapest Memorandum 20 years ago in exchange for giving up its nuclear arsenal. Russia’s insidious aggression against Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea has not only threatened the future of a sovereign Ukrainian state, but has forced others to reconsider following Ukraine’s non-nuclear status.
At the same time, Andrii Deshchytsia said Ukraine will continue to abide by its international obligations and will not be changing its nuclear status. “Ukraine will look for other ways to strengthen its security and protect and defend its territorial integrity, independence, particularly in a collective format.”
Additionally, the minister held talks with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Great Britain and the Russian Federation.
During conversations with the Dutch and British Ministers foreign ministers, the Ukrainian diplomat informed them about the developing situation in Ukraine in the context of Russian aggression and Russia’s annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. The ministers expressed their unequivocal support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and condemned Russia’s actions that have violated fundamental principles of international law. Cooperation with the UN, OSCE and the IMF were discussed as a means to regulate the crisis.
Positions and assessments on the current crisis in Ukrainian-Russian relations and Russia’s aggression in Crimea were discussed turing the meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. It was agreed to de-escalate the situation in Crimea and in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, which could lead to the loss of human life as well as to hold emergency consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and the Defense Ministries of both countries in the event the situation is aggravated.
The United States and Ukraine reconfirmed their strategic partnership, condemned Russian aggression in Crimea and agreed to continued nuclear non-proliferation cooperation. The USA once again confirmed its position and expressed its support for the Government of Ukraine and the territorial integrity of our country.
Following the summit, Ukraine and the USA issued a joint statement reconfirming their obligations under the non-proliferation treaty.
The United States confirmed the obligations of the new Government of Ukraine and the people of Ukraine, including Crimea. The United States condemned Russia’s failure to abide by its obligations under the Budapest Memorandum and its one sided military actions in Ukraine. Russia’s actions have undermined the foundations of the international security architecture and threaten peace and security in Europe. Ukraine and the United States stress they will not recognize Russia’s illegal attempt to annex Crimea. Crimea is a part of Ukraine. The United States will continue to provide support for Ukraine in asserting its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The United States will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of Ukraine in their efforts to restore unity, peace and security of their state.
Ukraine and the United States will continue to work toward the prevention of nuclear proliferation by strengthening Ukraine’s capacity to detect nuclear material on its borders, provide physical protection of facilities with nuclear or radioactive materials and maintain an adequate system of export controls to achieve the objectives of the Nuclear Security Summit.
In the Hague Declaration the “Group of Seven” stressed that Russia’s actions will have serious consequences. This obvious violation of international law is a serious challenge to the rule of law around the world and represents a serious problem for all countries. “In response to Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to demonstrate our determination to respond to these illegal acts, individually and collectively, we introduced a variety of sanctions against Russia and those individual organizations responsible for the situation. As always, we remain committed to act, including the already agreed upon sanctions, that will have a growing and significant impact on the Russian economy, should Russia continue to escalate the conflict.”
The leaders of the “Group of Seven” reminded Russia about its international obligations in particular, obligations to the world economy. “Diplomatic channels to de-escalate the situation remain open and we call upon the Russian government to accept this path forward. Russia should respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and being a dialogue with the Government of Ukraine and to avail itself of the opportunity and proposals for international mediation and monitoring of their legal interests.”
Countries of the “Group of Seven” also unequivocally support the people of Ukraine in their efforts to restore unity, democracy and political stability and economic prosperity in their country. “We appreciate and respect the Government of Ukraine’s ambitious reforms and will continue to support their realization, and hope that Ukraine will begin a new chapter in its history, founded on constitutional reforms, free and just presidential elections in May and respect for human rights and national minorities.”
They emphasized their strong commitment to provide financial support to Ukraine, to coordinate technical assistance and aid for Ukraine’s regions, including measures to increase trade and strengthen energy security.
Ukraine — UN
On March 27, 2014 acting Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia will take part in a meeting of the UN General Assembly dedicated to the situation in our country, which will consider a resolution by the General Assembly entitled “Territorial Integrity of Ukraine.” Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Serhiy Kyslytsia will join the delegation.
The General Assembly, as the chief political body and most representative organ of the United Nations will confirm their support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and will call to prevent a recognition of a change in the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea based on the illegal referendum. The text of the resolution is based on the UN Charter and universally recognized tenets of international law (refrain from the use of force or threats of force, peaceful settlement of disputes and the rule of law in international relations).
Ukraine — Council of Europe
The Bureau of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities met in Strasbourg, on March 24, 2014 following the procedures of urgent debate, met to discuss the situation in Ukraine during their 26th Session of the Congress scheduled for March 25-27, 2014.
The meeting agreed to support a resolution from the Congress that proposes to condemn “Russia’s annexation of Crimea and their violation of international law.” Their resolution states that the “pseudo-referendum” can not be used to redraw the borders between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. It also recognizes that “the Autonomous Republic of Crimea had broad autonomous powers, which could have been further expanded in consultation with the Ukrainian national authorities.”
The Bureau also decided that their next meeting to monitor current affairs that was scheduled to be held in Ulyanovsk and Kazan (Russian Federation) will be held in another member state of the Council of Europe. The Bureau decided that given the current situation, the only measures the Congress can adopt in Russia should focus on policy and dialogue aimed at resolving the crisis in Crimea and the restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
As part of a fact finding mission in Ukraine, Mariette de Purbe-Lundin, co-rapporteur of the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe met with General Prosecutor of Ukraine, Oleh Makhnitskyi.
On March 2-24, 2014 co-rapporteurs of the PACE Monitoring Committee together with Ann Brasser, President of PACE, held meetings with leaders of the state, representatives of regional and city administrations in the cities of Donetsk and Lviv as well as civil society representatives.
Foreign Visits to Ukraine
On March 25-27, 2014 Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Trade of the USA Mathew Morrey will visit Ukraine and has planned meetings with his Ukrainian colleagues.
Ukraine — Russian Federation
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has expressed another categorical protest to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation against continued armed attacks by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation against military units and bases of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Naval Forces of Ukraine and the State Border Service of Ukraine.
In particular, during March 20-24, 2014 the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation forcefully seized 25 separate coastal mobile missile divisions (Fiolent City), military unit A1100 (Novofedorivka City), the 204th Alexandr Pokryshkin Sevastopol tactical aviation brigade (Belbek City), one separate battalion of marines of the Naval Forces of Ukraine (Feodosiya City). Russian soldiers also captured ships belonging to Naval Forces of Ukraine, in particular, the raid trawler “Henichesk”, the minesweeper “Chernihiv” , assault ships “Konstantin Olshansky”, “Kirovohrad”, the corvettes “Vinnytsia”, “Lutsk”, “Khmelnitskyi”, “Ternopil”, and the administrative ships “Slavutich”, “Donbass”, the submarine “Zaporizhzhia” and others.
Of particular concern to the Ukrainian side is the fact that physical violence and psychological pressure exerted on members of the Armed Forces of Ukraine as well as instances of abduction.
In particular, Deputy Commander of the Naval Forces of Ukraine and Head of the Coast Guard Major General Ihor Voronchenko, Second Ranking Captain Vyachelsav Demyanenko and tactical aviation brigade commander Colonel Yuri Mamchur were abducted. These persons were forcibly kept under guard in areas controlled by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
The Ukrainian side categorically condemns the aggression of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea designed to provoke an armed conflict and an escalation of the conflict in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and demands that the Russian side release the abducted servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, halt the piratry of ships of the Naval Forces of Ukraine and the Armed Forces of Ukraine and to withdraw Russian Armed Forces outside the territory of Ukraine and to begin a dialogue to resolve the crisis around the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
Regarding violations of Human Rights in the Russian Federation
It is impossible not to be concerned about the acts of fascism, xenophobia, and violence on the basis of ethnic identity that are growing in the Russian Federation.
Specifically, in 2013, xenophobic tendencies and the actions of Right Wing radical groups have increased in the Russian Federation, resulting in manifestations of ethnic intolerance and use of nationalistic slogans among the general population.
As an example of the atmosphere of rising xenophobia and intolerance in Russian society, on November 4, 2013, “Unity Day”, in Moscow and in 100 cities across the Russian Federation, the traditional “Russian parades” were accompanied by displays of swastikas and symbols of SS divisions (according to the Levada Center, 40% of Russian citizens support these “Russian parades).
According to information gathered by the analytical center “SOVA”, in 2013, twenty one people were killed and178 were injured at the hands of racists and Neo-Nazis, and 9 people received death threats. The victims in the Northern Caucasus and victims of larger battles are not included in this data.
Last year, the attacks took place in 32 regions of the Russian Federation. The acts of violence, as in the past, are most common in Moscow (8 killed, 53 wounded) and St. Petersburg (3 killed, 32 wounded). Many victims lived in Lipetsk (4 dead, 15 wounded), Moscow and Chelyabinsk oblasts (8 injured in each), Krasnodar (7 wounded), Voronezh and Sverdlovsk oblasts (6 wounded in each). In addition, a significant number of victims lived in Novosibirsk and Omsk (5 wounded in each), the Samara oblast (4 wounded), and the Republic of Komi (4 wounded).
Since the beginning of 2014, 14 people from six regions of the country were victims of xenophobic violence, 6 of which were killed, including one person from Uzbekistan who was killed in Moscow.
Increasingly, the defacement with fascist swastikas and other acts of vandalism are being carried out on the monuments to Soviet soldiers and in public places.
The Russian Federation has seen a sharp increase in the level of xenophobia. According to the information of the analytical center “SOVA", in 2013, 136 attacks were committed on the basis of ethnicity, an increase of 25 cases when compared with the years 2011 and 2012.
Three groups of victims are identified by ethnicity:
Group 1 - immigrants from Central Asia (13 killed, 45 injured);
Group 2 - natives of the Caucasus (3 killed, 26 injured);
Group 3 - unidentified people of a "non-Slavic appearance" (1 killed, 28 injured).
There are also cases where attacks were accompanied by xenophobic slogans and were on other “ethnic outsiders" (7 victims). In Moscow and Chelyabinsk, one victim was a native of China, in St. Petersburg - an Enka girl, and in Chelyabinsk - an ethnic Roma.
Apart from the usual attacks on “outsiders", using lethal, non-lethal and other forms of weapons, last year the far right committed bombings and arson with racist motives: in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Lipetsk, several attempts (at least five) of arson and bombings of buildings, dormitories and other places inhabited by migrants were made.
There has also been an increasing number of anti-Semitic acts.
Right-wing groups distributed anti-Semitic literature, calls for pogroms appeared on blogs and social networks.
On September 13, 2013 on the eve of Yom Kippur in the suburban train to the"Kraskovo" station of the Kazan railway (ie, close to the famous synagogue in the Moscow oblast), a far-right group attacked a Jewish youth group, shouting slogans such as "Heil Hitler! Holocaust!".
In 2013, the victims of religious xenophobia also rose in number-24 people were victimized.
In this context, the country’s campaign against “Jehovah’s Witnesses” is of special note (no less than 13 victims of attacks based on religious motivation, compared to 10 victims in 2012, and in 2011-at least 24 victims).
On Dec. 31, 2013, in the Moscow metro, three young men demanded that the Muslims on the train denounce Islam and verbally assaulted them. A video recording of this incident and a burning of a Koran were uploaded to the Internet.
In March of 2013, a group of Muslims (citizens of Tadjikistan, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan) filed a complaint against the police department in the city of Suprut, officers of which threw them to the ground, searched them and forced them to cut off their beards.
Moreover, it is important to note that there is growing unease in the relationship between the Orthodox Christian and Muslim communities in the Russian Federation (in the last 15 years, radical Muslims have killed 6 Orthodox priests).