Ukraine – NATO Commission
On April 1, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Andrii Deshchytsia participated in a meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Commission held at the level of Ministers Foreign Affairs and took place at NATO Headquarters in Brussels and was chaired by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
The meeting continued comprehensive discussions of the developing political and security conditions in Ukraine in context of the aggression by the Russian Federation and ways of stepping up cooperation along the lines of Ukraine-NATO to support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country and restore defence-capabilities and capacities of our Armed Forces.
The acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine provided detailed information about the actions of Ukrainian authorities at this difficult time for our country. The Ministers Foreign Affairs of the Alliance were informed of the ambitious plan to reform the state budget that was recently presented by the Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk. The commitment to free, fair and democratic elections of the President of Ukraine, scheduled for May 25, 2014, was confirmed.
A. Deshchytsia expressed gratitude to NATO, its Member States and to the Alliance’s Secretary General personally for the consistent and strong support for Ukraine, which was recently shown on March 27 of this year, when all NATO member states unanimously coauthored the Resolution of the UN General Assembly entitled “Territorial integrity of Ukraine”.
The meeting participants condemned the illegal military invasion of Russia in Ukraine and Russia’s violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country. They restated their position of non-recognition of the illegitimate and illegal “annexation” of Crimea by Russia. The courage, discipline and restraint Armed Forces Ukraine were recognized.
The Ukraine-NATO Commission also called on Russia to take steps to de-escalate the situation and to support the OSCE Observation Mission dispatched to Ukraine.
In addition, the Ukraine-NATO Commission discussed the schedule of intensive political dialogue and active practical cooperation in the nearest future in order to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country, strengthening joint action in the area of emergency preparedness and protection of our country’s critical infrastructure, the restoration of the defence capabilities, combat readiness and material-technical support of our Armed Forces, strengthening the capacity of Ukrainian scientific sector in areas that are currently important.
The discussions resulted in an agreed list of specific activities within the framework of the Ukraine-NATO Commission for the near, medium and long terms, to enhance the military, defense and practical cooperation to further support Ukraine. It was a practical demonstration of the Allies’ commitment to the Distinctive Partnership with Ukraine.
The meeting approved a Ukraine-NATO Commission statement at the level of Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
During his visit to NATO Headquarters, Acting Minister Foreign Affairs Ukraine Andrii Deshchytsia met with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The side restated the position that Russia’s acts of aggression against Ukraine directly threaten European security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic space.
The NATO Secretary General confirmed the Alliance's position of strong support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. He also stressed the Ukrainian people’s inalienable rights to determine their own future without external interference.
The sides discussed the further development of the special partnership between Ukraine and NATO, which will provide substantial enhancement of practical cooperation and political dialogue, including at the highest levels.
That same day in Brussels, a meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of Ministers Foreign Affairs was held.
The meeting adopted a statement stressing the fact that the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of NATO are united in their condemnation of unlawful military intervention by Russia in Ukraine and of Russia violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and in their non-recognition of the illegal attempt by Russia to annex Crimea.
The statement says that to demonstrate their commitment to Ukraine, NATO countries are intensifying cooperation within the partnership and introducing special measures for the short and long term to strengthen the capacity of Ukraine to ensure its own safety.
In addition, NATO countries decided to suspend the full range of practical civil and military cooperation between NATO and Russia, and stressed that they would continue to provide the necessary strengthening and visible guarantees of NATO unity and commitment to deterrence and collective defense against any threat of aggression against the Alliance.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine participation in the meeting of the CM of the Council of Europe
Today the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine will attend the 1196th meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.
The main purpose of the visit is to provide objective information on the situation in Ukraine to all Member States and support of direct high-level dialogue with the Council of Europe concerning further effective steps to help Ukraine.
The minister addressed a meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe during the agenda item “Situation in Ukraine” and met with Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland and the Chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Rudolf Lennkh, Permanent Representative of Austria.
Following the Minister’s remarks at the CM CE and further discussion, approval of a decision is expected by the Committee of Ministers of the CE on supporting Ukraine's constitutional reforms, judicial, electoral areas, local government and strengthening human rights protection mechanisms.
Ukraine – Russian Federation (RF)
The MFA of Ukraine has taken note of the statement and commentary of the foreign ministry of the Russian Federation, concerning Ukrainian topics.
The contents of these statements once again show that the leadership of the RF is living in its own world of illusion, deceit and self-deception, and is attempting to draw its own people, and the entire international community, into this world.
Through targeted “brainwashing” of Russians with horror stories about Ukraine, the Kremlin is clearly trying to hide the underlying problems in its own country, namely the social, economic and moral decline, especially in regions of the Russian Federation remote from Moscow; strengthening chauvinistic, xenophobic and anti-Semitic sentiments in Russian society in flagrant disregard for the rights and freedoms of citizens RF, primarily minorities.
The RF Foreign Ministry’s Comment that the RF has in no way violated the Budapest Memorandum of December 5, 1994, which, together with the USA and Great Britain, provided guarantees of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, does not stand up to scrutiny in terms of international law and the actual reality.
The attempts by the Russian side to “justify” its blatant annexation of Autonomous Republic of Crimea to the international community, its shifting of blame for the loss of territorial integrity to the current leadership of the Ukrainian state is nothing but another demonstration of the RF’s disrespect and contempt for international law and its international obligations, including the UN Charter.
Does the Kremlin believe that the world is capable of believing in nonsense, that Russia has nothing to do with the occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and its annexation?
How does the Russian side explain the massive invasion from the territory of the RF of paramilitary formations, units of RF Armed Forces, Kuban Cossacks, direct participation of RF citizens, including of RF citizen Alexey Chaly, the so-called “national self-proclaimed mayor of Sevastopol” in pro-Russian protests in Ukraine, manipulations with the so-called “referendum,” the terrorizing of Ukrainian military personnel by FSB intelligence agencies, the seizure of Ukrainian property and natural resources in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, not to mention the concentration of RF troops on the eastern borders of Ukraine?
Why does the RF still use the false argument that it decided upon the annexation of Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol based on the so-called will of the local people, if the so-called “referendum” has been deemed by the UN General Assembly and the Venice Commission to be illegitimate in terms of Ukrainian and international laws?
When Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote about the global chessboard, he obviously had no idea that someone is going to play, say, billiards on it, or a “shell game” (a game popular in Russia). Recent statements by the Russian side suggest that the efforts of the international community to speak with Russia using the language of argumentation do not make any sense. It is clear that Russia does not recognize and does not intend to recognize any established rules of the international coexistence of states.
In addition, we want to emphasize that the leadership of the RF is solely responsible for the violation of the territorial integrity of our country, in particular the provisions of the Budapest Memorandum. Indeed, paragraph 2 of this document contains a commitment “to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine.”
Moreover, the Russian Federation made it clear in yesterday's comment by its MFA that the prospects of economic cooperation between Ukraine and RF will depend on Ukraine maintaining its non-aligned status, effectively blackmailing our country. And that blatantly violates, in particular, paragraph 3 of the Budapest Memorandum, which contains the obligation “to refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty.”
The MFA of Ukraine calls on the Russian side to stop interfering in the sovereign internal affairs of Ukraine and Ukrainian people. No one gave Russia the right, or asked Russia to impose upon us their own position on foreign policy priorities or internal development of our country, such as constitutional reforms in Ukraine.
Ukraine, too, for obvious reasons, does not approve of many Kremlin’s policies, including policies towards our brotherly Russian people and national minorities living on the territory of RF. But we respect the sovereignty of the RF and the fundamental principles of international law on non-interference in the internal affairs of other independent states. We demand the same respect from the RF. Moreover, as a result of the intervention which the Kremlin has permitted itself, the lives of tens of thousands of citizens of Ukraine, living in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, have been ruined. The Russian leadership will be held to account for this, sooner or later.
Concerning the decision by the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL) regarding the unilateral actions of the Russian on using Ukrainian airspace
On March 28, 2014, the Russian Federation unilaterally established, through the publication of the Aeronautical Information Collection of the Russian Federation, new classifications and boundaries for flight information over the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the airport “Simferopol,” and changed the four-digit codes for the “Simferopol” and “Sevastopol / Belbek” airfields.
These actions by the Russian side are a gross violation of Articles 1 and 2 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation of 1944 (Chicago Convention) regarding the implementation of Ukraine's sovereignty over its airspace, and the blatant interference by the aviation authorities and RF’s air navigation service provider (“State Corporation for Air Traffic in the RF”) into the activities of air traffic service providers in Ukraine.
The above is also a direct violation of bilateral and multilateral agreements on the delimitation of the border areas of flight information between the Black Sea states, including RF (approved by ICAO) and under which the responsibility for the safety of air navigation in the international area of the Black Sea lies with the Ukraine.
Ukraine has expressed an official protest to the Russian side, and reported the information indicated above to ICAO, EUROCONTROL, neighboring Member States and other stakeholders.
In view of this, EUROCONTROL (European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation) stated, in an official letter, that it will comply with international law and will not recognize any unilateral declaration introducing air navigation services over any part of Ukrainian airspace by the Russian side. In addition, EUROCONTROL has established internal measures to ensure that any action by the organization will not be interpreted as recognition of the “Republic of Crimea” as part of RF territory.
The above action of this leading European organization in the field of civil aviation security emphasizes, once again, complete international rejection and non-recognition of Russia’s unilateral actions of annexing parts of Ukraine’s territory.
UN Security Council
On March 31, an informal meeting of the UN Security Council was held to discuss the situation in AR Crimea in accordance with the “Arria Formula.” All Member States of the UN Security Council, with the exception of RF, China and Rwanda, took part.
In order to draw international attention to the situation around the AR of Crimea, the meeting was attended by Ukraine Member of Parliament Mustafa Dzhemilyev and journalist-civic activist Valentyna Samar.
Participants were informed about the numerous human rights abuses in the AR of Crimea, including threats to the lives of Crimean Tatars in the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea. The abduction of a representative of the Crimean Tatars, whose body was found in the Bilogirskiy area on March 15, with signs of torture, was reported. Information was provided that, during the period from February 27 to March 30, more than 100 cases of violations of journalists' rights were reported, including 38 attacks by so-called Self-Defense units and the Russian military.
Representatives of the USA, France, Great Britain, Australia and Luxembourg expressed concern over violations of human rights, adding that the March 27 vote on the resolution of the UN General Assembly confirmed that the Crimea remains Ukrainian territory.
After the meeting, met Mustafa Dzhemilyev and Valentyna Samar met with UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic, in which the latter was informed about numerous instances of human rights violations in Crimea. In response, the high-ranking UN official assured the Ukrainian delegation, that a UN mission has been launched in our country and that the UN Secretary General will publish its report on the human rights situation in Ukraine, including Crimea, in mid-April.
The meeting of the Security Council resulted in a comprehensive understanding by the members of the Security Council and by UN states in general concerning the situation in the AR of Crimea, which was supplemented by firsthand information provided by representatives of civil society and national minorities of Crimea.
Protection of national minorities’ language rights
According to a statement posted on the official website of the Council of Europe in the the "European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages" section, the Charter's Expert Committee concluded that the protection of national minorities and their languages continues to have a high level of legislative support. A number of recent positive developments in the use of minority languages in the media were noted.
This statement was made by the Charter Expert Committee in light of its evaluation report on Ukraine, adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on January 15, 2014, and subsequent consultations with experts in the field.
Regarding the Russian language, most commitments undertaken by Ukraine under the Charter are fulfilled in whole or in part. The use of the Russian language in courts Ukraine is quite satisfactory. It also notes the use of Russian, and, to some extent, of Hungarian and Romanian in the local and regional government bodies.
However, the Expert Committee notes that there is work to be done in the protection of rights and the implementation norms of the Charter for the Belarusian, Bulgarian, Gagauz, Greek, Crimean Tatar, Moldovan, German, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Hungarian and Yiddish languages.
Concerning the Law of Ukraine "On the Fundamentals of State Language Policy" it was noted that the law currently applies to the Russian language, but not for most other minority languages.
In this context, the Committee of Experts considers it important for the Ukrainian authorities to take measures to ensure the application of the language law to all minority languages in Ukraine subject to the said Charter.
Ukraine – OSCE
From March 31 to April 1, 2014 a visiting delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly (PA) OSCE headed by the President of PA OSCE, Chairman of the Parliament of Montenegro Ranko Krivokapic was in Kyiv, Ukraine. During the visit, on April 1, 2014, President of PA OSCE met with Acting President of Ukraine and Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov. There was also a meeting between Ranko Krivokapic and the Chairman of the Permanent Delegation of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to the OSCE PA, Oleh Zarubinsky.
This visit took place in continuation of the previous visit of OSCE PA delegation headed by the Special Coordinator of the OSCE observation mission Joao Soares and the head of the observer mission of the OSCE PA Makis Voridis (Kyiv, March 26-29, 2014) in the context of preparation for participation in the monitoring of pre-term elections of the President of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian side confirmed its readiness to conduct “fair and transparent presidential elections” and willingness to provide comprehensive assistance to the work of international observers.
Also, views were exchanged on the political situation in Ukraine and developments around the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea by the Russian Federation.
Ranko Krivokapic stressed that the OSCE supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the territory of Ukraine.
A multinational inspection mission of military observers has been in Ukraine since March 19, 2014, under the provisions of the Vienna Document of the OSCE on Confidence-building and Security, on the initiative of Denmark. It is composed of four representatives of Denmark, one representative each from Austria, Germany, Poland and Sweden. The purpose of this group is to visit the south-eastern regions of the country, documenting facts of possible atypical provocative military activities and actions aimed at destabilizing the situation in Ukraine.
The inspection mission initiated by Denmark continues to monitor developments in Ukraine. It continues the work started by another multinational group of military observers which, under Article 18 of Chapter III of the Vienna Document, was in this country from March 5 to 20.
Ukraine is interested in the permanent monitoring of the military-political situation in our country and intends to use the opportunities provided by the Vienna document, to ensure the continued presence of military observers on its territory until the normalization of the military-political situation is achieved. In this regard, our government appealed to the Danish side to extend the activities of the current mission until April 5.
Ukraine is grateful to Denmark and other countries that have agreed to this proposal and expressed a willingness to extend the activities of the mission.
At this time talks are underway with the state-signatories of the Vienna document to send another group of military observers to Ukraine, who will continue to monitor the military and political situation in our country.
Concerning multinational military exercises in Ukraine in 2014
On April 1, 2014, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Law "On approving the President of Ukraine’s decision on admission of Armed Forces of other countries onto the territory of Ukraine in 2014 for participation in multinational exercises."
The legislative act regulates the issue of admission of Armed Forces of other countries onto the territory of Ukraine in 2014 for participation in multinational exercises, determines their total number, type and number of weapons, equipment, dates and locations for the period of training.
There will be eight such multinational exercises, namely, Ukrainian-US exercises “Rapid Trident 2014” and “Sea Breeze 2014” with the participation of NATO nations and partners, Ukrainian-Polish training of air force squadrons “Safe Sky 2014” and units of military police “Law 2014,” Ukrainian-Slovakian-Hungarian-Romanian exercise "Light Avalanche 2014"; Ukrainian-Polish-Hungarian exercises for mountain infantry “Carpathians 2014” and the Ukrainian-Moldovan-Romanian exercise for mechanized units "South 2014."
Multinational military exercises are comprehensive measures of international military cooperation that allow the improvement of the level of combat training of members of the Armed Forces and gain interoperability and combat readiness necessary to carry out peacekeeping, humanitarian, search and rescue and other tasks in realistic conditions.
Ukraine – EU
In the context of the completion of the 1st (legislative) phase of the Action Plan for the liberalization of the EU visa regime for Ukraine in March this year, the Government approved a number of draft laws, including:
- “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine (to prevent and combat discrimination)”;
- “On Amendments to the laws of Ukraine, related to the activity of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Human Rights on the protection of personal data”;
- “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine in the sphere of public anti-corruption policy in connection with the Plan of Action for the liberalization of EU visa regime for Ukraine”;
- “On Amending Article 1 of the Law of Ukraine ‘On refugees and persons in need of additional or temporary protection’” (The Ministry of Internal Affairs has been instructed to develop a draft law in accordance with the regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers in a one-day deadline).
These draft laws were submitted to Parliament. Currently, they are being works on by the appropriate committees in parliament, including the Committee on Human Rights, National Minorities and International Relations parliament and the Committee on Fighting Organized Crime and Corruption of Parliament.
We expect that these draft laws will be included in the agenda of parliament and passed in their first reading at the plenary session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine during in the period of April 8 to 11, 2014.
In addition, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in conjunction with State Migration Service, are preparing a Government order “On approval of a plan of measures for the creation of the Unified State Demographic Registry and national systems of biometric verification and identification of citizens of Ukraine, foreigners and stateless persons for the years 2014-2017” and the draft Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine ‘On the Unified State Demographic Registry and documents certifying the citizenship of Ukraine, identity of persons or their special status’ to establish digitized fingerprints as the primary biometric parameter” for consideration at the next Government meeting.
The adoption of these legal acts will allow Ukraine to complete and the 1st (legislative) phase of the Action Plan.
An Expert Mission of the European Commission was in April 2 to develop the arrangements made during the visit to Ukraine on March 25-26 of the Delegation of the European Commission, led by the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule and EU Commissioner for Financial Programming and Budget Janusz Lewandowski and the Cabinet meeting held during that visit.
The Mission’s main goal is agreeing upon the text of the draft of the Memorandum of Understanding and the Agreement between the Government of Ukraine and the European Commission to provide new macro-financial assistance to Ukraine in the amount of EUR 1 billion.
On March 5, the European Commission approved the allocation of financial assistance to our state amounting to EUR 11 billion over the next few years to stabilize the financial and economic situation and supporting reforms in Ukraine, including EUR 1 billion in new macro-financial assistance.
During its stay in Kyiv, the EC Expert Mission will conduct a series of meetings with representatives of the Government of Ukraine’s economic bloc in order to agree the terms of the aforementioned macro-financial assistance and prepare drafts of the Memorandum and Loan Agreement.
Ukraine - UNESCO
The meeting of the 91st session of the Permanent Council of the International Organization of La Francophonie was held in Paris on March 28. It was attended by Personal Representatives of Heads of State and Governments of the 77 Member States and Organization observers or these countries’ authorized senior official representatives of accredited diplomatic missions in Paris.
During the general political discussion, the Secretary General of the International Organization of La Francophonie Abdou Diouf expressed “deep concern over recent developments, especially in view of the situation on the Crimean peninsula.”
"We condemn any external intervention aimed at undermining the integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. We consider the referendum, which was held March 16 in the presence of foreign Armed Forces, as a breach of the Constitution of Ukraine.”
Unconditional support for Ukrainian government was expressed by representatives of IOF member states such as France, Canada, Moldova, Romania and others.
The Permanent Council of the International Organization of la Francophonie adopted a summary document, which expressed “deep concern about the situation in Ukraine, especially in the Crimean Peninsula” and strongly condemned “any violation of its territorial integrity and sovereignty.” The Council also expressed its “support for the initiatives and activities of international partners to achieve a peaceful resolution of this conflict.”
The unconditional support expressed for Ukraine by the IOF, whose members include over one third of the total number of UN member states, was another vocal proof of the increasing isolation of Russia in the international community.
Ukraine – USA
On April 1, 2014, the US Congress’ House of Representatives adopted by 378 "yeas" to 34 "nays" the bill (H.R. 4152) “Support for the Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy, and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act of 2014” in the version that was adopted Senate on March 27, 2014.
To become effective it must sign the President of the USA B. Obama.
The bill, among other things, provides for the following in support of our country:
- providing credit guarantees to Ukraine in accordance with the sum expressed by President B. Obama of USD $1 Billion;
- assist the Ukrainian Government in identifying, blocking and returning assets related to corrupt activities of former President V. Yanukovych, his family, or any other current or former officials of the Ukrainian Government;
- permission on assistance in the amount of USD $50 Million for the needs of democracy and USD $100 Million to strengthen security cooperation with Ukraine and other countries of Central and Eastern Europe;
- introduction of additional sanctions against those responsible for the violence and serious human rights violations during anti-government protests in Ukraine which began November 21, 2013, and against those responsible for the threat to peace, security, stability, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine;
- introduction of sanctions against representatives of the Government of the RF, their family members or associated persons who were complicit in or responsible for significant acts of corruption in Ukraine and in Russia; [Include the freezing of assets and a ban on the issuance of visas to the USA, their cancellation and the expulsion of persons concerned from the territory of USA];
- introduction of annual reporting of the Minister of Defense of the USA to Congress on military and security developments involving the RF.
Foreign visits to Ukraine
On April 3, 2014, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic Moldova for Reintegration Eugen Karpov will be in Ukraine on an official visit. The visit will take place in context of the agreements reached between the Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatseniuk and Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova Yuri Leanca.
During the visit, meetings are planned between Eugen Karpov and First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Vitaliy Yarema, NSDC Secretary Andriy Parubiy, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Andrii Deshchytsia and the Head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Defense and Security Volodymyr Lytvyn.
Further development of collaboration to address urgent issues of bilateral cooperation in the field of European integration, as well as regional security, will be discussed during the meetings.