Igor Lossovskyi, Deputy Permanent Representative of Ukraine to International Organizations in Vienna, voiced this statement at the 1152nd meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on July 6, 2017. The full text of the statement is published on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
QHA brings the principal extracts of the statement.
“Mr. Chairperson,Today we will start our statement by placing into focus the continuing significant restrictions and intimidations affecting the SMM monitors in areas of Donbas controlled by the hybrid Russian forces. We wish to particularly draw attention of the Permanent Council to the SMM report of 30 June and will quote the respective paragraph in full: “In “LPR”-controlled Vesela Hora, two so called “LPR” members (males, 25-30 years old) armed with assault (7.62mm) rifles, wearing grey camouflaged clothing without insignia or badges and with black balaclavas covering their faces approached the SMM vehicles. They asked the SMM patrol members in both vehicles if they had been in the same settlement the day before and alleged that SMM members had congratulated residents on the day of the Ukrainian constitution. The armed men told the SMM members that they would shoot the SMM members if such a message was repeated.”This incident highlights the level of risks posed by hybrid fighters who enjoy impunity on the part of their commanders in Russia and areas of Donbas, de-facto controlled by Russia. Such incidents continue to regularly happen, following the on-going unwillingness of the Russian side to commit to the safety of the monitors and to start implementing its obligations under the Minsk agreements.Russia’s involvement into the conflict it instigated and continues to fuel in Donbas has yet again been put into spotlight, when a subversion and reconnaissance group of six persons, including two Russian citizens, was identified and neutralized by Ukrainian servicemen near the contact line in Donbas on 24 June, in the first day of the so called “harvest ceasefire” agreed for the period from 24 June to 31 August 2017 by the Trilateral Contact Group on 21 June.It is not surprising that in this case Moscow sticks to its usual practice to dissociate itself from detained Russian soldiers. While sufficient evidence exist to identify captured Russian citizen Viktor Ageyev as a member of the Russian Army, including the accounts of his own and his mother, the Russian Defence Ministry claimed that Ageyev had been transferred to the military reserve in May 2016 with a special entry made on the second page of his military ID.These few findings add to the exposure of the criminal and repressive nature of this Russia-imposed occupation regime, perpetrating violence, human sufferings and economic deprivation. They also make it very clear why withdrawal of Russian troops and fighters from the Ukrainian territory and disarmament of illegal armed formations, as envisaged by the Minsk agreements, are of crucial significance for re-establishing the environment of respect for human rights and free expression which are indispensable for progress on political aspects of the settlement.The Russian Federation continues to seek to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and political independence by violating its territorial integrity and fuelling the conflict in Donbas by Russian mercenaries, weapons, ammunition and finances supplied through the uncontrolled segment of the Ukrainian-Russian state border.The Russian side does not stop its political persecutions under far-fetched allegations of Ukrainian journalists, public figures and eminent representatives of national minorities, both in its territory and in the temporarily occupied Ukraine’s Crimea. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine strongly condemned the decisions of the Russian authorities to extend the preventive measures in the form of detention against Akhtem Chiyhoz, Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, until 8 October 2017, and against Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko, until 30 September 2017.We urge Russia to stop its aggression against Ukraine, to implement in good faith its commitments under the Minsk agreements, and to reverse the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula, which remains an integral part of Ukraine. As that is still not the case, we appreciate the recent decision of the European Council of 28 June 2017 to prolong the economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy until 31 January 2018 linked to the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements.”