Виступ Посла України В.І.Лакомова на семінарі в Інституті сталого розвитку ІРП.
SDPI Seminar on
Changing Dynamics in Global Power Structures
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Over the last month we have witnessed the most flagrant violations of international law since the inception of the United Nations. After two weeks of military occupation an integral part of Ukraine has been forcibly annexed by a state that had previously committed itself to guarantee the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of my country in accordance with the Budapest Memorandum.
By a state which happens to be one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, entrusted by the UN membership with primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
This aggression was meticulously calibrated to strike at the time when Ukraine was forming inclusive Government.
Now, despite all odds, such a Government is up and running.
It was also aimed and is still aiming to undermine Presidential elections in my country.
Let me assure you that Ukraine is determined to carry on with holding elections as scheduled on the May 25-th.
Many rounds of urgent discussions on the Russian military intervention in Ukraine held by the UN Security Council as well as adoption of the draft of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution “The Territorial Integrity of Ukraine” during United Nations General Assembly session on March 27, 2014 clearly demonstrated how isolated Russia is on this issue.
The mixture of concocted justifications, half-truths, deliberate distortions, insults and naked lies offered by the Russian side failed to impress the Council.
Ladies and Gentlmen,
Ukraine is under attack – brazen and unprovoked – a part of the territory of my country being occupied by foreign troops.
This aggression, which had no reasons, violated the most fundamental rules of international law enshrined in the UN Charter, the CSCE Final Act of 1975, as well as many other multilateral and bilateral agreements.
At the opening session of the third Nuclear Security Summit UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed the need to build a culture of nuclear security. He rightly emphasized that the time has come to strengthen the rule of law in both disarmament and non-proliferation.
Speaking about the UN's efforts to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons, the Secretary-General pointed out that the assurances provided to non-nuclear-weapon States by nuclear-weapon States must be honored.
I quote: "In the case of Ukraine, security assurances were an essential condition for its accession to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. However, the credibility of the assurances given to Ukraine in the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 has been seriously undermined by recent events. The implications are profound, both for regional security and the integrity of the nuclear non-proliferation regime".
We cannot agree more.
Two years ago, when we proposed to the russian side to sign a bilateral agreement on security and confidence building measures, it refused saying that the idea of an attack on Ukraine was absurd.
Six months ago, we were preparing to have a trilateral meeting in the Hague between the leaders of Ukraine, USA and Russia to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Ukraine's nuclear-free success story.
Yet this plan has been crushed almost overnight by the Russian aggression against Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea.
Ladies and Gentlmen,
The claims on which Russia based its actions are plainly false.
Russian troops invaded Crimea under the guise of protecting Russian speaking population against the new pro-democratic and pro-European government that replaced the former corrupt regime of Yanukovych, who had used snipers against its own people and fled the country when he realized that people were no longer willing to suffer his tyranny.
Former President of Ukraine Yanukovych himself refused to implement the February 21 agreement that Russia cites all the time. Our Parliament elected the new Government by overwhelming support of 371 votes (out of 450 Members of Parliament). The new Government received the votes also from the majority of Yanukovych’s own party – the Party of Regions. That means that current Government enjoys the support of the whole Ukraine.
Similarly, alleged threats to the Russian speeking population in Ukraine are equally a plain lie.
On March 6, the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Astrid Thors stated that during her visit to Crimea, she found no evidence of violations or threats to the rights of Russians and Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
The illegal “referendum” in Crimea held at the gunpoint of Russian soldiers was organized by the Kremlin using criminals, such as self-proclaimed “prime minister” Aksionov. It was a complete farce, whose sole purpose was to justify a blatant land grab.
The falsified “popular support” of the annexation of Crimea reminds of the voting practices during the Soviet times, where 99% voted for Communist Party. It was Stalin who said that “it is not important how people vote, it is important how the votes are counted.”
The whole world has condemned the Russian military intervention in Ukraine and the unlawful annexation of Crimea.
On March 27, the United Nations General Assembly passed a Resolution in support of territorial integrity of Ukraine.
The Resolution “calls upon all States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any alteration of the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea … on the basis of the … referendum and to refrain from any action or dealing that might be interpreted as recognizing any such altered status,”
“Underscores that the referendum … [of] 16 March 2014, having no validity, cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea or of the city of Sevastopol,”
“Affirms its commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders,”
“Calls upon all States to desist and refrain from actions aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including any attempts to modify Ukraine’s borders through the threat or use of force or other unlawful means.”
The overwhelming majority of the world supported this Resolution, with 100 nations voting in favor, and only 11 countries voting against it, where Russia found itself together with Belarus, Cuba, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Armenia.
This resolution has tremendous significance, as it not only condemns Russian aggression and supports Ukraine’s territorial integrity, it also speaks out in support of the cornerstone principles of the international law and the United Nations.
The world has clearly spoken. Russia’s actions are in gross defiance of the most fundamental norms of international law. Russia’s aggression shook the foundation of European and global security architecture and international nuclear non-proliferation regime, as Moscow was one of the guarantors of Ukraine’s territorial integrity when Ukraine voluntarily gave up the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world.
There is no place for the use of force and coercion to change borders in Europe in the 21st century.
Ukraine showed utmost restraint in Crimea and refrained from the use of force to prevent bloodshed.
Meanwhile, Russia has taken over the Crimean peninsula. There are thousands Russian troops there now. Russia has taken all of our property, military bases, most of our Black Sea fleet.
People who live in Crimea are now forced to either take the Russian citizenship or leave, as they all of a sudden became foreigners in their own land. Russia is forcing the application of its laws in Crimea, and under the Russian law, even talks about Crimea as a part of Ukraine are now considered a criminal offence.
The Russian aggression continues. There are indications that Russia plans a Crimean scenario in Southeastern Ukraine as well. Today, events in cities Donetsk and Kharkiv prove it.
There is over a 100 thousand Russian troops near our Southeastern borders standing in combat order. There have been numerous provocations in the territory of Ukraine aimed at inciting ethnic hatred and separatism, accompanied by violence against civilians, seizure and blocking of state government property, desecration of Ukrainian state symbols.
The Russian side continues to form organized groups for the purpose of deploying them to the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine with the aim of destabilizing the situation.
The threat of Russia’s aggression into mainland Ukraine is very real.
As our Prime Minister clearly said, if Russia crosses the border of the mainland, this is the duty of every Ukrainian citizen to protect our country. We will defend our land.
At the same time, we believe that there is a chance to resolve this conflict peacefully and through negotiations.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia recently met with Russian Foreign Minister at the Hague. Lavrov promised that Russia will not go into mainland Ukraine.
We are open to dialogue with Russia, and this dialogue should be based on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Everything else can be a subject of discussion.
Ukraine will never recognize annexation of Crimea.
And Ukraine will never allow anyone to dictate its own future.
On May 25 we will hold presidential elections.
On March 21, the leaders of the European Union's 28 member states signed a landmark political agreement with Ukraine - a long-planned move that has since the revolution in Ukraine and Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula – become a symbol of EU support for Ukraine. Signed the political part of the Association Agreement with the European Union Ukrainian people want and deserve a better future to live in a free, democratic and peaceful country.
This is our choice, and this choice is not directed against Russia. Ukraine and Russia are neighbors, and naturally we want to live like good neighbors.
We call on Russia to listen not only to us, but to the whole international community. There is still a chance to deescalate the situation and start talking. This is the only sensible choice.
The modern international law universally recognizes the duty of states not to recognize self-proclaimed quasi-state formations or any situation related to their existence resulting from the illegitimate use of force.
It is known that the UN Charter, the 1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and other documents contain that approach.
I’d like to make a special emphasis on the fact that the use of the principle of self-determination in national and international law is possible only when the central government does not meet demands for territorial or national autonomy by aspiring territory.
In this regard, I’d like to stress that since Ukraine became independent, Crimea had a unique status of an Autonomous Republic within the unitary state of Ukraine. This means that its aspirations for autonomy were satisfied with the adoption of the Constitution of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
I’d like to turn your attention to the fact that since the beginning of the conflict Ukraine has repeatedly addressed the Russian Federation proposing the settlement of disputes in a peaceful manner on the basis of bilateral agreements and traditional international principles and procedures. In all cases, however, the Russian Federation rejected those initiatives.
The Ukrainian Revolution of Human Dignity – that’s the prospect of finally putting the post-Soviet period of our history to the end. Ukraine has chosen its way. Despite all the difficulties and temporary occupation of Crimea, Ukraine is headed for Europe.
I am certain that we shall be a free, democratic and proud European country.
Ladies and Gentlmen,
At the end of my speech I would like to express my deep gratitude for the interest to my country and the opportunity to speak before such a distinguished audience.
What brought us here today is an issue of paramount importance. Of crucial importance for my nation. Of vital importance for every UN Member State. Even more so - for the United Nations and the world order it embodies. For a month now all possible and impossible boundaries of international law, so laboriously nourished by the mankind - especially by this institution- have been ruthlessly trampled.
What has happened in my country is a direct violation of the UN Charter.
Many still struggle to grasp the reality - it happened in Ukraine, in the very heart of Europe. It happened in the 21st century. International law prohibits the acquisition of part or all of another state’s territory through coercion or force. To do so violates the principles upon which the international system is built.
Thank you for your attention.