On May 29, a meeting of the UN Security Council was held in New York, convened at the request of Poland to deal with the situation in eastern Ukraine and attended by Foreign Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin.
There were a number of reasons for such a meeting. First of all, it had to do with the recent aggravation of the situation in eastern Ukraine. In addition, the meeting was held a week after the announcement of the results of an investigation by the JIT (Joint Investigation Team), according to which the Boeing 777 which carried out the MH17 flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in July 2014 was shot down by a Buk missile system, which arrived in eastern Ukraine from the Russian Army’s 53rd Antiaircraft Missile Brigade based in Kursk. In addition, Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov has been on a hunger strike for more than two weeks in a Russian prison, demanding the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia. All of these topics were in the focus of the Security Council meeting in the US.
“This is not a frozen conflict – the month of May has seen security conditions worsen with increased ceasefire violations, higher civilian casualties, and growing military casualties,” said US Permanent Representative to the UN Nikki Haley, and continued: “Despite its transparent denials, there is no doubt Russia is driving the Ukrainian conflict.” Haley assured that her nation supported the Netherlands and Australia as they called on Russia to acknowledge its role in the tragic shoot-down of Boeing over the Donbas and to cooperate in bringing to account those responsible for this incident. “And like its role in the MH17 tragedy, we ask Russia to acknowledge another reality that everyone here knows to be true: Russian soldiers are in Ukraine. Not to ‘protect’ Russian-speaking Ukrainian nationals, but to impose Russian control on the country,” she stressed.
“If Russia truly cares about the people of the Donbas, it should end the fighting that it started, withdraw its military personnel and weapons, and cease support for separatists in line with its obligations under Minsk,” said Permanent Representative of the UK to the UN Karen Pierce.
UN Undersecretary General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo said that “new political energy” was needed to resolve the conflict. According to her, although the conflict no longer makes major international headlines, it is “neither dormant nor frozen,” and requires attention particularly to alleviate its human cost.
Head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of the Netherlands Stef Blok urged Russia to acknowledge the results of the JIT investigation into the Boeing shoot-down and to engage in cooperation with the investigation. At the same time, Foreign Minister of Poland Jacek Czaputowicz proposed to appoint a UN special envoy to Ukraine. According to him, this would demonstrate the involvement of this organization in the peace process. He also called for the deployment of a UN peacekeeping mission to Ukraine.
In line with long-standing expectations, Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN Vassily Nebenzya labeled conclusions of the JIT as groundless and said that Russia was not to be spoken to in “the language of ultimatums.” In another amazing development, only a few hours after the murder of the Russian opposition activist and journalist Arkady Babchenko in Kyiv, Nebenzya included this fact in his speech, noting that Ukraine was “shutting down and purging” the media that speak “with a voice of their own,” he was quoted as saying by the BBC.
Head of the MFA of Ukraine Klimkin, who was the last to speak at the meeting, said that Ukraine “does not doubt at all that the MH17 shoot-down was a terrorist act,” and his government would present to the International Court of Justice evidence of Russian violations of antiterrorist agreements as soon as the next month.
“THE NEW QUALITY SHOULD INVOLVE THE HARSHEST SANCTIONS POSSIBLE AGAINST THIS REGIME”
The Day turned to an expert, asking him to comment on this discussion in New York and to explain when the quantity of statements made at the UN Security Council will transform into quality.
Volodymyr OHRYZKO, Foreign Minister of Ukraine (2007-09):
“I think that such discussions do some good, after all. At the very least, it is because the Western countries are consolidating more and more these days. Each new crime to be reported and proven as one procured and perpetrated by the Russian Federation adds cohesion and unity. Here I mean conclusions about the Malaysian Airlines aircraft which was shot down by Russia. Yesterday’s tragic news of yet another murder, its victim being the Russian opposition activist, blogger and journalist Arkady Babchenko, as well as all previous murders – all of it is becoming a critical mass, which at some point, and I sincerely believe in it, should transform into a new quality of response to Russia’s actions. I believe that this new quality should involve the harshest sanctions possible against this regime, because it does not care about the location and means of killing, the main thing is just to kill: in London just as in the occupied territory of Ukraine, in Kyiv just as in Washington. This is the essence of the policy of this regime. So, when the highest security forum of the UN Security Council discusses the Russia-linked situation, and when we see that practically everyone is united against Russia, because everyone understands its guilt, it is a positive development.
“Unfortunately, we have not seen much progress on further actions so far. But I still believe that little by little, we will reach the point where quantity will transform into quality.”
In your opinion, under what conditions will this happen, so that resolutions of the Security Council will have tangible effects?
“This is not a simple question. After all, the fifth column, whom the Kremlin regime has managed to establish in the Western countries over decades through blackmail, bribery, and corruption, is much too big, powerful and influential. Therefore, decisions come really hard. Even the recent visit [May 29. – Ed.] of the federal president of Germany has shown that even at such a high level, there are still politicians who do not want to acknowledge truth due to the circumstances that I have spoken about. Therefore, it is a struggle between truth and evil. I think that ultimately, and we know it from history, truth wins. The only thing that is very frustrating is that proving this truth will require new and numerous victims on our part, which the West continues to see as something of only secondary importance. I am still very surprised that we have not heard any strong responses to the murder of a Russian journalist so far, except for the OSCE statement, which is usual in such cases.”
What are the remaining mechanisms for putting pressure on the enemy?
“First of all, we need to respond firmly to all military provocations. For this purpose, it is necessary to create capabilities in the Ukrainian Armed Forces, to provide them with the means to repulse the enemy. This is the key task of our government at the moment.
“Secondly, we need to continue the work on informing our Western partners about ongoing crimes and forming a united anti-Putin front. These are realistic objectives. We just need to have a precise, clear objective and work to achieve it through consistent and systematic efforts.”