The people of Crimea have made their choice and their will should be respected.
The Embassy of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Korea was indignant with interview of Ambassador of Ukraine to Seoul Vasyl Marmazov, which was published in Korea JoongAng Daily, March 27, 2015. Regrettably the allegations made by the ambassador in the interview cannot be described in other words than mendacious and provocative.
The most outrageous were his wordings that Russia “encroach[es] on lives, territory, freedom and independence of Ukraine.” He also mentioned that conflict in Ukraine should not be described as civil war, but as “Russian invasion.” These statements are nothing but a bold
lie. Since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine we have heard numerous accusations of the Russian Army being involved in hostilities, but until now all the authors of these myths have failed to provide any reliable proof to support their accusations. Moreover, the OSCE monitoring mission working “in the field” has never reported that there were any signs of Russian armed forces present in the conflict zone. In order to dispel all the doubts we also allowed officers of the Ukraine to conduct inspections in Russia border regions. The Ukraine team inspected (Feb. 9-12) 15,000 square kilometers of Russian territory adjoining to the Ukraine border and confirmed the fact
that Russia does not conduct any undeclared military activities. In the light of above mentioned facts, we should admit that the statements of the Ukrainian ambassador are nothing but groundless accusations.
Since the beginning of the conflict, the inability of the Ukrainian government to establish dialogue with its citizens living in Eastern regions was the key reason of the tragedy. Initially the only demand of these regions was the establishment of federal administrative system similar to the one adopted by Russia, United States, Germany, India and dozens of states. But instead of discussion, the Ukrainian government
preferred to use military force and started military operations to suppress this opposition. All the Ukrainian citizens who supported the idea of rebalancing of power between center and regions were labeled as “separatists” and literally deprived of the basic human rights. We all know the results of this approach. According to the UN data, more than 6,000 people died and 15,000 were injured and the large part of casualties among civilians was caused by indiscreet use of heavy artillery and MLRS systems in densely populated areas by the Ukrainian
Army. Unlike the myths about the “Russian invasion” these terrible facts are proved by solid evidence provided by the OSCE mission as well as UN humanitarian agencies working in the conflict zone. Maybe its high time for Ukraine to start treating people of the Donetsk and
Lugansk regions as compatriots not enemies. In the present situation, it looks like the only way out of the present nightmare.
Russia will continue efforts to broker a direct dialogue between Kiev and Lugansk and Donetsk. We had cosponsored Minsk Agreements, which were signed in Minsk on Feb. 12, and approved by UN Security Council Resolution 2202 calling all the parties to fully implement the “Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreement.” That is the opinion of international community which the Ukrainian side regrettably has failed to act on. The world is waiting for the Ukrainian government to pull heavy weaponry away from densely opulated
areas and stop the ongoing humanitarian blockade of the region which has already caused great deal of suffering for Ukrainian citizens.
On March 14, the UN office in Kiev hosted a briefing for diplomatic missions and international organizations, attended by Neal Walker, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Ukraine, on the results of a recent trip to Dnepropetrovsk and Donetsk by representatives from the UN agencies and nongovernmental organizations. The international experts were stuck by the scale of the humanitarian problems in Donbass. They said Kiev’s unwillingness to help over 5 million Ukrainians get their lives back on track is aggravating the already distressing situation in Donbass. The humanitarian convoys sent by the Russian Federation to the devastated region are, in fact, the only way to survive for the locals.
Russia will continue to send these convoys; the latest one departed on March 26 and will deliver over 1,600 tons of cargo. But it is only the small part of the help provided by our country to Ukraine. Several weeks ago (March 13), the Russian Central Bank provided a $13.751
million loan to the Ukrainian government through IMF channels. We also continue to supply Kiev with necessary natural resources at prices which are lower than market levels. It would be reasonable for the Ukrainian ambassador to recall all these facts before making his allegations.
We appreciate that the Ukrainian ambassador is so concerned about the human rights situation in Crimea, but still it’s very difficult to understand why he is so persistent in his attempts to deprive citizens of Crimea from their natural right of self-determination which is declared by the Article 1 of the UN Charter. The people of Crimea have made their choice and their will should be respected as it is provided by international law. If Mr. Marmazov has any doubts about the rule of law in the region he can always freely visit Crimea by himself and watch the situation by his own eyes. Unlike Russian citizens in Ukraine, he (as well as Ukrainian citizens not involved in crimes) are free to visit our country without any visa formalities and they will not have to fear arbitrary detention, deportation or threats of
*The author is the Russian Ambassador to Seoul.
By Alexander Timonin