Addressing UN Assembly, Ukrainian leader vows country will remain united

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenuk of Ukraine addresses the General Assembly. UN Photo/Hubi Hoffmann

24 September 2014 – Telling the United Nations General Assembly that his country knows what terrorism is; “not merely in words but in practice,” Arseniy Yatsenuk, Prime Minister of Ukraine, reiterated his Government’s commitment to restore law and order and urged Russia to adhere to its international obligations and seek a diplomatic path out of the current crisis.

The conflict in Ukraine was not domestic; its origin had been an “invasion” by the Russian Federation. “A P-5 member violated the United Nations Charter,” he said, underscoring that such actions are “absolutely and entirely unacceptable.” Twenty years ago Ukraine abandoned its nuclear arsenal, the third largest in the world at the time.

In return, it had been guaranteed territorial integrity and sovereignty. Russia signed the memorandum to that effect, yet it had since broken that promise. “We are committed to our nuclear non-proliferation programme but we need guarantees of territorial integrity, security and independence,” Mr. Yatsenuk said.

A few months ago, Russia had “annexed” Crimea, he said, commending those Member States that supported the General Assembly resolution supporting Ukraine’s territorial integrity and condemning Russia’s actions. Yet today, Russian troops were deployed in eastern Ukraine. In addition, Russia violated several multilateral and bilateral agreements. He urged Russia to pull out its forces and to start real talks. “We are the country that needs peace. It’s difficult to hammer out any kind of peace deal at the barrel of a gun made in Russia,” he said.

Mourning the victims of the Malaysian Airliner that he said had been downed a few months ago by Russia, Mr. Yatsenuk urged everyone to help Ukraine bring to justice those responsible for “this despicable crime against humanity”. Every day, despite the ceasefire, Ukraine was losing soldiers and civilians. Ukraine needs peace. The military option is not the best option, he said, calling for a comprehensive diplomatic and political solution.

“Sanctions are the way to start real talks and hammer out a peace deal,” he said, urging those States that had imposed such measures not to lift them until Russia fully withdrew from eastern Ukraine, including Crimea. “Mr. Putin, you can win the fight against the troops. But you will never win the fight against the nation, the united Ukrainian nation.”


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