24 February 2018
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PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

10.07.2017

Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich's remarks at the OSCE Permanent Council meeting on the situation in Ukraine and the need to implement the Minsk Agreements, Vienna, July 6, 2017

Mr Chairman,

Over the last two weeks, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine reported on new manifestations of radicalism in Ukraine. Extremists are trying to influence government decisions, and are seeking to destabilise the Ukrainian state. Between June 19 and 24, the SMM witnessed rallies by former Aydar battalion members held after their former commander, member of the Ukrainian parliament Sergey Melnichuk, was called in for questioning on terrorism charges. On June 21, the SMM reported an attempt in Kharkov to prevent journalists from entering the city council. On June 24, monitors witnessed protests staged by the Right Sector in Dnepropetrovsk against the appointment of a local police chief who used to be a Berkut commander.
The government has given the green light to rewriting history, and turns a blind eye to neo-Nazism which it is spreading among young people. From June 30 until July 2, in Lvov, as the city marked 76 years since Jewish pogroms by the Nazi troops and Ukrainian nationalists, the Shukhevichfest was held to honour a Nazi collaborationist and war criminal, Roman Shukhevich. SMM reports only briefly mention that monitors “continue observing” the situation in Kiev as well as in Lvov. Not only do they have to control, but also to report on what they see in every detail. The SMM has the budget to do this.
The situation continues to deteriorate. Quotas were introduced for the use of the Russian language and other minority languages. As a result, at least one half of Ukraine’s population has limited access to information. Journalists and civil society activists are regularly harassed. Where are the results of the investigations into the killing of Oles Buzina and Pavel Sheremet? Journalist Ruslan Kotsaba once again faces attacks. Igor Guzhva, Editor-in-Chief of Strana.ua news website, was detained. We also remember journalists Igor Kornelyuk, Anton Voloshin, Anatoly Klyan, Andrea Rocchelli, plus many others who were also killed.
There is a push to enact laws that would legalise church raids and infringe upon the rights of Orthodox Christians. Arrests of people expressing dissenting views on accusations of ‘everyday separatism’ have become a thing which is all too common, and so did arbitrary detention, and torture by the Security Service of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian government knows no boundaries when it comes to deploying anti-Russian efforts. A draft law is currently being reviewed to prevent Russian artists from performing in Ukraine and Ukrainian artists from performing in Russia. At the same time, Ukrainian officials recognise that doctors use Russian medical drugs that are officially banned in Ukraine to save people from illnesses such as botulism.
Despite all these efforts, the society rejects the label of an “aggressor state” imposed by the official Kiev propaganda.
Not only Kiev is unable to take decisive action to stop violence along the line of contact, but provokes its escalation. The so-called bread-harvesting truce failed to bring about a complete ceasefire. On June 26, SMM monitors reported damaged buildings in Vesyolaya Gora and in Kominternovo following artillery fire coming from the area of deployment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. On June 29, a large-scale firing incident took place near Yasinovataya, and on June 30 in the Popasnaya-Pervomaysk section. According to SMM data, over the last two weeks, from June 19 until July 3, artillery fire coming from the areas of deployment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine killed three civilians in Staromikhaylovka, Kominternovo and Yasinovataya, and wounded four in the Kuybyshevsky District of Donetsk, Dokuchaevsk and Stakhanov. Buildings were damaged in Vesyolaya Gora, Zaychenko, Kominternovo, Kirovsk, Leninsk and Sakhanka.
Nevertheless, the total number of violations has declined. Efforts to strengthen the bread harvesting truce should carry on.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine refuse to withdraw from Stanitsa Luganskaya. The monitors reported that between June 26-30, they did not respond to the signals from the self-defence units on the beginning of withdrawal. Nevertheless, the SMM expressly confirmed that there were no shelling incidents during a period of seven days.
Kiev is obviously afraid not only to begin a discussion of the political aspects of the settlement, but even to engage in direct dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk. The Contact Group meeting in Minsk was another missed opportunity to make progress on the enactment of the law granting special status to these regions and arranging local elections.
It is obvious that the implementation of the Minsk Agreements presents a major challenge for the current Kiev authorities, but this is the only way for appeasing tension in the country and preserving its integrity within its current borders.
Russia condemns any attempts to frighten or threaten SMM monitors. Those responsible for such acts on both sides should be held accountable. The mobility of monitors is being restricted on both sides of the line of contact to a similar extent. The Armed Forces of Ukraine used the landmine threat as a pretext for completely shutting off access to Stanitsa Luganskaya, Schastie, Popasnaya, Bogdanovka and Katerinovka, as the SMM Principal Deputy Chief Monitor Alexander Hug confirmed on June 12. Over the last two weeks, the Kiev armed forces opened fire twice against SMMs UAVs in Podgorny on June 16 and in Zatishny on June 26. On June 28, monitors were unable to launch a UAV from the territory controlled by the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Popasnaya due to jamming efforts. SMM did not report on these incidents separately, and the Mission did not provide the latest statistics related to patrols on both sides of the contact line. The SMM has to be guided by its core principles, i.e. to act in an impartial, unbiased and transparent manner.
Thank you for your attention.




LATEST EVENTS

23.02.2018 - Four years since the coup in Kiev: Embassy Press Officer on the article by Boris Johnson on Crimea

Yesterday, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson published an article entitled “Four years since the illegal annexation of Crimea”. It is a pity that it is not accompanied by a piece on the fourth anniversary of the coup d’état in Kiev that was backed by the UK and the West in general, and blatantly violated not only Ukraine’s Constitution, but also the agreement between President Yanukovych and the opposition mediated by Germany, France and Poland on 21 February 2014. It was precisely the forcible removal of the lawfully elected President that paved the way to power to the self-styled “government of winners”, a bizarre mix of pro-European liberals and far-right extremists, and triggered the sequence of events that resulted in Crimea re-joining Russia.


23.02.2018 - Embassy’s comment on the situation in Eastern Ghouta

Several thousand fighters are remaining in Eastern Ghouta, including those associated with terrorist organizations, primarily Jabhat al-Nusra. They are shooting at Damascus, and the intensity of those attacks is increasing every day. The population in Eastern Ghouta has been held as hostages, they are not allowed to leave the territory controlled by the terrorists. Military installations are disguised as medical facilities.


22.02.2018 - Agricultural Attache Derbenskiy took part in the Conference of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU)

On 20-21 February Vladimir Derbenskiy, Agricultural Attache of the Russian Embassy, took part in the annual NFU Conference in Birmingham on the invitation of the Union.


22.02.2018 - Embassy’s Press Officer on the situation in Eastern Ghouta

Q: Could you comment on the statement regarding the humanitarian situation in Eastern Ghouta made by Prime Minister Theresa May in the House of Commons on 21 February? A: The best way to improve the humanitarian situation in Eastern Ghouta is for Jabhat al-Nusra fighters to withdraw. Instead, this terrorist group that controls the area constantly attacks residential areas and diplomatic facilities in Damascus, keeps civilians as hostages and uses them as a human shield. Information on civilian casualties mostly comes from Nusra-affiliated structures, which cannot be seen as impartial. Several medical evacuations have been arranged but met with refusal by the terrorists, who are preventing any attempts to negotiate a larger-scale civilian evacuation.


21.02.2018 - MFA comment on the accusations by UK against Russia of staging massive cyber attacks against Ukraine’s cyber infrastructure

A new era of information warfare against Russia is upon us. It is now alleged that Russia had something to do with the June 2017 cyber attack against Ukraine. The UK Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence have now joined the Western media in spreading these accusations. This time, however, instead of laying the blame on the anonymous and now legendary “Russian hackers,” they went as far as to accuse the Russian government. In keeping with the tradition adopted by the West in general, London failed to provide any specific facts, preferring to make groundless and exasperating statements and allusions and pretending that everything is clear even without coming up with any evidence.


20.02.2018 - DRAFT UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON COOPERATION IN COMBATING INFORMATION CRIMES



15.02.2018 - Embassy Comments on statement of Foreign Office Minister Lord Ahmad

The statement of Foreign Office Minister Lord Ahmad regarding Russia’s alleged responsibility for the NotPetya cyber-attack is, like many other similar accusations, not backed by any evidence. It is another example of irresponsible and hostile rhetoric of British officials towards Russia. The Embassy considers it as a part of the continuing campaign aimed at the stigmatisation of our country, that we have witnessed in the UK over the recent months.


15.02.2018 - The latest anti-Russian campaign in Western media (MFA comment)

We have noted a number of articles published by Western media in the latest campaign to denigrate Russia’s role in fighting terrorism in Syria. Here are just a few of the many examples: “Syria’s Idlib province pounded by Russian airstrikes, activists say” (The Washington Post, February 5); “Russia bombs Syria rebel strongholds after jet is shot down” (Newsweek, February 5); “Biggest airstrikes in a year hit Syria after rebels shoot down Russian jet” (The Guardian, February 6); “Devastating Russian airstrikes of retribution in Syria” (Deutsche Welle, February 5); “Russia launches an offensive after the jet is downed” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, February 5). These articles are obviously carbon-copies – their style and reasoning are strikingly similar. The misinformation comes down to allegations that the Russian Aerospace Forces are striking rebel strongholds in Idlib, killing civilians and damaging civilian infrastructure, including medical institutions. The Syrian Army is being groundlessly accused of using chemical weapons.


14.02.2018 - Embassy’s Press Officer on the chemical incidents in Syria

Q: Could you comment on the recent statements by a number of Western politicians and media claiming that Moscow and Damascus were responsible for the chemical weapons attacks in the course of the Syrian conflict? A: Russia is against any use of chemical weapons and is a strong supporter of chemical disarmament. In Syria we are in favour of conducting professional on-site investigations of all chemical incidents, something that has never been performed. Instead, the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) relied on “evidence” provided by the self-styled activists and rescue organisations such as the White Helmets which are in fact colluding with al-Nusra and other terrorist groups.


12.02.2018 - Ushakov Medal presented to the Arctic Convoys Veterans

On 9-11 February 2018 Third Secretary of the Embassy Vadim Retyunskiy presented the Ushakov medals to the Arctic Convoys veterans Mr David SIMPSON and Mr George MOON



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