|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
7124th Meeting* (PM)
Ukraine, in Emergency Meeting, Calls on Security Council
to Stop Military Intervention by Russian Federation
Addressing an emergency meeting today, Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations called on the Security Council to do everything possible to prevent military intervention by the Russian Federation.
He said recent events posed a serious threat to his country’s integrity and to peace and stability in the region. Even though the Russian Federation’s Parliament had just authorized the use of force against Ukraine, its troops were already in country and their numbers were increasing, constituting an act of aggression, he said.
The Russian Federation’s representative acknowledged that Parliament had approved the use of force on Ukraine’s territory, but not against Ukraine. Pointing out that the President of the Russian Federation had not ordered the use of force, he emphasized the need for all parties to remain calm and to return to the agreement signed on 21 February by Germany, France, Poland and Ukraine.
The representative of the United States called on the Russian Federation to engage with the Government of Ukraine, calling also for the immediate deployment of international observers from either the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) or the United Nations to provide transparency on unfolding events.
The United Kingdom’s representative said his country was deeply concerned about the escalation of tensions and the Russian Parliament’s authorization of military action in Crimea. Noting that the Council had urged all actors to exhibit restraint, he said the Russian Federation needed to take immediate steps to calm the situation.
France’s representative described the authorization to deploy troops as a dangerous development for peace. Calling for all parties to show restraint, he asked all authorities to ensure peace and cooperation with all communities, adding Ukraine’s neighbours were expected to help in that regard.
The meeting began at 4:17 p.m. and ended at 4:50 p.m.
The Security Council met this afternoon to consider the situation in Ukraine.
JAN ELIASSON, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, said there were reports of serious developments in Ukraine since the Council’s meeting yesterday. In Crimea, key sites such as airports, communications facilities and public buildings, including the regional parliament, reportedly continued to be blocked by unidentified armed men. Following the reported deployment of additional Russian troops and armoured vehicles to Crimea, the Russian Federation’s Upper House of Parliament had approved a request by President Vladimir Putin for Russian forces to be used in Ukraine, he said.
However, there were some encouraging signs, including the reported announcement from Kyiv of the intention to broaden the Government to include representatives from eastern Ukraine, he said. Robert Serry had been in touch with the authorities in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, but had been unable to visit the region today for logistical reasons. He would travel to Geneva today to brief the Secretary-General on his mission to Ukraine and discuss possible next steps. The Secretary-General was gravely concerned that the situation had deteriorated further since yesterday’s Council meeting, and reiterated his call for full respect for and preservation of Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, he said, adding that the Secretary-General would be speaking with President Putin shortly.
YURIY SERGEYEV ( Ukraine) said the situation in his country continued to deteriorate. A few hours ago the Upper House of the Russian Federation’s Parliament had authorized the use of force against Ukraine, but the troops were already there and their numbers were increasing, he noted. That constituted an act of aggression, posing a serious threat to Ukraine’s integrity and to peace and stability in the whole region.
He said the Russian Federation had rejected bilateral talks under the treaty of 1997, and had also violated the United Nations Charter. Facing the announced military intervention, Ukraine called on the Security Council to do everything possible to stop the aggression. He called for international monitors to observe the situation and urged all Member States to demonstrate solidarity with the people of Ukraine who were being brutally violated by a permanent member of the Security Council.
VITALY I. CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said the Council had agreed that only three delegations would speak, yet some members were not following that agreement. Expressing support for the Deputy Secretary-General’s observation that cool heads must prevail, he said that his Ukrainian colleague had not followed that notion. The situation earlier this year had seen the democratically-elected President Viktor Yanukovych and Ukraine facing serious economic challenges and decisions, including the signing of an agreement on association with the European Union. That association had harmful consequences for Ukraine, he said.
Posing a number of questions about the consequent demonstrations, he asked why the protests were being encouraged by people from abroad and why the European Union had attended meetings on Ukraine. While emphasizing that he did not wish to condone the actions of President Yanukovych, he asked why some Western colleagues were trying to spur on the confrontation and what armed militants were doing in the streets. The agreement signed on 21 February by President Yanukovych and the Foreign Ministers of Germany, France and Poland should be implemented, he said.
He went on to state that the eastern part of Ukraine was concerned about the replacement Government, pointing out that the removal of Mr. Yanukovych from office had been done in an unconstitutional way. The Russian Parliament had considered the situation in making its decision on the use force on Ukraine’s territory, and not against Ukraine, he stressed. The President of the Russian Federation had not taken the decision on the use of armed forces, he said, underlining the need for cool heads and for a return to the 21 February agreement.
SAMANTHA POWER ( United States), noting that actions speak louder than words, said her delegation was deeply disturbed by the military intervention in Crimea. It was time for the Russian intervention to end. Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected, she emphasized, applauding efforts towards a political dialogue. The United States recognized and respected the Russian Federation’s historical ties to Ukraine, but instead of engaging the latter’s Government, it had elected to act militarily. The Russian Federation’s actions could push things beyond the breaking point, she warned.
There was a clear way forward that would preserve Ukraine’s sovereignty and address the Russian Federation’s concerns, she continued. The Russian Federation must engage the Government of Ukraine and international monitors should be dispatched. The immediate deployment of international observers from either the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) or the United Nations would provide transparency on the events taking place in the region and de-escalate the situation, she said, stressing that the paramount concern was to end the confrontation and allow the Ukrainian people to determine their own future.
MARK LYALL GRANT ( United Kingdom) said his country was deeply concerned about the escalation of tensions and the fact that the Russian Parliament had authorized military action in Crimea. That was a violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity. He called on the Russian Federation to give a full account of the situation and on all parities to think about their actions. They must lower, not escalate, tensions, he emphasized. The United Kingdom supported Ukraine’s new Government and urged it to respect the rights of all citizens, including minorities, he said, adding that his delegation saw no reason why further consultations should not take place immediately. The Council had urged all actors to exhibit restraint, and the Russian Federation needed to take immediate steps to calm the situation.
GÉRARD ARAUD ( France) said that, while the world could not ask Ukraine to choose between East and West, the parliamentary authorization for the Russian Federation to move troops into Ukraine was a dangerous development for peace, and France would attempt to provide a political solution to the situation. Calling for all parties to show restraint, he asked all authorities to ensure peace and cooperation with all communities, saying he expected Ukraine’s neighbours to help in that regard.
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* The 7122nd and 7123rd Meetings were closed.