In response to the comment of the Department of Press and Information of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation on the situation regarding the national minorities living in Ukraine, we consider it appropriate to note that in this case, as in fact in many other cases, the Foreign Office of the Russian Federation is guilty of complete fabrication and is totally misinforming the international community.
Unlike the Russian Federation, Ukraine is a member of both the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of February 1,1995, and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages of November 5,1992. Our government is actively involved in monitoring cycles that are regularly hosted by the Advisory Committee of the Framework Convention and the Committee of Experts of the Charter. As of today, no final or draft document of these expert bodies has confirmed the "total disregard for the interests of Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine” claimed by the Russian Federation.
Instead, in the report prepared by the Advisory Committee of the Framework Convention for the third monitoring cycle and approved by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on December 18, 2013, Ukraine was criticized for providing Russian-speaking minorities a much higher level of protection than other ethnic communities. The report emphasized that the quotas for broadcasting were improperly applied to Russian media, which led to their dominance in the Ukrainian media scene. Expressing its concern for the "asymmetric" situation, where the Russian language is given privileged status, the Advisory Committee called on Ukraine to develop balanced legislation that would not only provide clear safeguards to protect minority languages , but also contribute to the promotion of the state language as the primary means of communication.
Similar conclusions were contained in the report of the Committee of Experts of the Charter prepared for the second monitoring cycle and approved by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on January 15, 2014. Analyzing the situation regarding the protection of the Russian language, the experts noted that most of the commitments that were taken by Ukraine under the Charter, in whole or in part, were fulfilled. However, they emphasized that the level of protection afforded to the Russian language in Ukraine is much higher than Ukraine's commitments assumed under the Charter.
The expert conclusions of the Council of Europe, which anyone can read on the website of this international organization, are contrary to the "poisonous" arguments that Russian diplomacy has pulled out of the woodwork from the period of “the Cold War" and the "Iron Curtain." In modern democratic and transparent societies, no harassment or persecution for the use of a certain language could go unnoticed. European experts, who moved freely throughout Ukraine, met with media representatives of all languages and all cultures, co-existing peacefully in our country, and recorded no violations.
There is no reason for Moscow’s authorities to worry about fate of other national minorities living in Ukraine. Respected international and regional institutions, engaged at the invitation of the Ukrainian side, are monitoring the human rights situation in Ukraine, never once finding any serious violations of the rights of German, Czech, Hungarian, Polish or any other communities that would amount to a threat to their life, health or well-being. Instead, the actions of the Russian Federation aimed at destabilizing the political situation in Ukraine are posing a real and immediate threat to the rights of national minorities, eliminating their ability to live peacefully and freely, realizing their national and cultural identities within a unified Ukrainian state.
According to the official data of the State Border Service of Ukraine, border traffic at the Ukrainian -Russian border and in other areas has not exceeded normal parameters. In this regard, any reports by Russian propaganda claiming that hundreds of thousands of refugees from Ukraine are returning to their homeland and are seeking refuge in Russia, are false. However, Ukraine has completely objective data on the number of citizens of Ukraine who were forced to leave the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, illegally seized and annexed by the Russian Federation. These data, confirmed by actual evidence, will be provided to the European Court on Human Rights and other international jurisdictional agencies that will hear cases on the misconduct of the Russian invaders.
Ukraine reaffirms its openness to cooperation and willingness to collaborate with prominent international organizations, including the UN, OSCE, the Council of Europe and other human rights institutions, to protect human rights in the Ukrainian state, including the rights of any and all national and linguistic minorities who contribute to the prosperity and cultural diversity of Ukrainian society.