Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

Kyiv 13:04

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Daily Briefing

21 April 2015, 17:23


Provocations continue from the Russian side involving the so-called “humanitarian”, or more precisely contraband convoys. On April 11, the MFA of Ukraine received the note of the Russian MFA about the intention of the Russian side to send another such shipment to Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts of Ukraine on April 16.

We have repeatedly pointed out to the Russian side that the previous "humanitarian shipments" entered Ukraine illegally, without the consent of the Government of Ukraine and in violation of national laws and internationally accepted practices.

This time we would also recommend the Russian side to deliver the shipment by rail through the checkpoints in Kharkiv and Luhansk oblasts controlled by the competent authorities of Ukraine in order to perform all the border and customs control procedures prescribed by law. We have also drawn their attention to the need to bring the contents of the humanitarian shipments in accordance with the Law of Ukraine, particularly with regard to excise goods, which may not be included in humanitarian aid.

We consider the systematic disregard of Ukraine’s lawful demands by the Russian side to be a serious challenge to international security. Such destructive attitude toward International Law should not become routine should be met with a tough response from the respective international organizations.

* * *

In this context, I would also like to comment on the so called “exhibition” opened in Moscow in the recent days and dedicated to the anniversary of the Russian aggression in Ukraine.

This “exhibition” would not deserve a special mention as just another case of Russian propaganda and anti-Ukrainian hysteria forcefully fomented by the Russian leadership. However, the said “exhibition” also presents a number of violations of the international law and bilateral Ukraine-Russia treaties by the Russian Federation.

First, it strikes the eye that in their installations organizers consciously and brutally demonstrate disdain and outrage over the state symbols of Ukraine. As far as I know, this is a criminal offence in every civilized country and even in Russia. Therefore, now Russian law enforcement bodies have a great opportunity to demonstrate that the law still means something in this country by opening a criminal proceeding against the perpetrators.

Second, many questions arise over the fact that the so called artifacts of this “exhibition” have been shipped to Russia. Meanwhile, at every international forum Russia claims that it ensures full control over the areas of Ukraine-Russia border which are currently out of Ukrainian government’s control and that no additional international monitoring is necessary. However, organizers of the “exhibition” have personally admitted to have shipped from Ukraine to Moscow a whole range of “exhibits”, sometimes quite large, such as cars and even concrete stelas with the names of Ukrainian towns.

This can be explained in two ways: either the Russian part of the border in Donetsk and Luhansk regions is really a “public thoroughfare”, which makes the issue of international control a burning one and requires immediate resolution, or this smuggling is taking place with the consent and support of the Russian government. I believe this is another opportunity for the Russian law enforcement authorities to demonstrate their uncompromising stand towards offenders.

We absolutely do not rule out the possibility that this “exhibition” has also become possible due to the so called Russian “smuggling” convoys. The latter bring to Ukraine munition, fuel and other military and technical means for terrorist and carry to Russia the equipment of production plants, coal and, among other things, a stela of Debaltseve town.

The main problem of the Moscow “exhibition” is of course the lack of samples of the Russian armament, thousands of which serve in Donbas as death weapons against Ukrainians on their own territory. What is also lacking is the list of names of the Russian soldiers killed in Donbas. Maybe this could be a way for the Russian government to atone to these soldiers for its criminal adventure in Donbas.

We hope that the absolutely false nature of this “exhibition” aimed to delude the Russian and international community regarding the origins of the Donbas conflict, as well as the glaring abuse of the international law by its organizers will urge the countries where Russia plans to demonstrate the said “exhibition” in the near future to closely consider the legitimacy of granting organizers respective permits.

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