21 November 2014 – Security Council – Ukraine - Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
I thank Mr. Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen for his briefing, and Ms. Tagliavini and Mr. Apakan for theirs.
Almost a year ago, Ukraine entered into a period of unprecedented transformation after years of administrative inefficiencies and political blockage. This transformation came from deep within Ukrainian society. Following the presidential election in May, the Ukrainian parliamentary elections of October 26 represent a new phase in the process of democratization taking place in Ukraine. The elections neatly confirm the fundamental choices of the Ukrainian people in favour of a deep transformation and a deep economic and social modernization of Ukraine. The forward march of Ukraine to the rule of law and political pluralism can continue. The path will be long. Agreed steps must now be translated into the implementation of necessary reforms in the areas of the economy, rule of law, decentralization and reconstruction.
However, since Ukraine has embarked on the path of reform, it has been constrained in moving forward. The separatist agitation helped from outside the country has spread to the eastern part of Ukraine, first in Crimea — annexed in violation of the law — and then in the Donbas region, causing disturbances, human rights violations and a serious humanitarian situation. We condemn in the strongest terms this interference in Ukrainian internal affairs, which has taken place with flagrant disregard for its sovereignty and territorial integrity. As occurred in Crimea in March, so-called elections were held on 2 November by the separatists in the part of Donbas that they occupy. These elections violate the letter and the spirit of the Minsk protocol, which provides for local elections in accordance with Ukrainian law. It is essential to quickly reach full compliance with the ceasefire and pursue further negotiations on the provisional status of the regions of the east.
With the signing of the ceasefire in Minsk on 5 September and an agreement on 19 September, a diplomatic process was finally set in motion between Kyiv and Moscow. These agreements remain a good basis for bringing about an end to the crisis based on three principles: respect for the ceasefire, monitoring of the eastern border of Ukraine, and political discussions for the purposes of finding a lasting solution. The priority now must be to remain on the path of dialogue and to continue the implementation of the agreements. Our goal is to bring Ukrainians, separatists and Russians to the negotiating table in order to stop the escalation. That is a crucial aspect of the Minsk protocol.
Military movements last weekend at the Russian-Ukrainian border, confirmed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), are cause for great alarm in that respect. Several dozens of military vehicles including tanks entered Ukraine in recent days. The strengthening of the military presence of the separatists and the proliferation of troop movements have raised fears of renewed fighting on a larger scale. The announcement of the creation of a Donbas army and a general mobilization is particularly worrying. The separatists and their supporters must prove they are ready for dialogue and the search for peace. In this context, we call once again for Russia to prevent the transfer of arms and men across its border and to use all its influence on the separatists so that the ceasefire is fully respected.
The issue of monitoring the Russian-Ukrainian border remains a focal point for reaching a political solution to the crisis. We expressed our readiness to provide the OSCE with our surveillance capabilities. The utility of drones has been shown in that they can be alternative and exclusive sources of information. We are in discussions with our Russian and Ukrainian partners on the subject. These discussions are difficult, but they are crucial if there is to be progress. We also believe that the mandate of the OSCE mission in Russian territory should be strengthened and expanded as quickly as possible to other border posts.
In this context, our political approach is based on firmness and dialogue. The sanctions are not intended to punish but to encourage dialogue. Sanctions are a tool, but they are not the only one. The conclusion of the negotiations on the supply of natural gas 10 days ago is a sign that some progress can be achieved through dialogue. Europe gave a clear alternative —heavier sanctions if the destabilizing actions continued and worsened, or a re-examination of the question if the situation on the ground bears witness to a real implementation of the agreements of 5 September. It is high time that we all rally in favour of de-escalation and the re-establishment of good-neighbourly relations between independent and sovereign States. No one has interest to fan the flames and return to the rhetoric of another century.