Translated by Ollie Richardson
Russia gave a sharp rebuff to Ukraine in the International Court of Justice where on 07.03.17 a new session on the consideration of Kiev’s claim against Moscow took place.
The representative the Russian Foreign Ministry Roman Kolodkin paid attention to the fact that in the claim Ukraine accuses Russia of “supporting terrorists” in Donbass, and also of violating the rights of Crimean Tatars.
“By joining these two cases together, Ukraine seeks to artificially unite two different circumstances that are regulated by two different legal documents, occurring in two various geographical regions,” he emphasized.
Kolodkin noted that one of the purposes pursued by Kiev is to “use the tribune of the court to label a considerable part of the Ukrainian population that self-organized in the form of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, or DPR and LPR, as terrorists, and Russia as a sponsor of terrorism”.
The diplomat reminded that “in February, 2014, in Kiev a violent coup took place”, the reason for which was a dispute concerning the EU association agreement with Ukraine.
At the time Ukraine was presented with a choice – a future either with the EU, or with Russia, noted the representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The coup in Kiev happened via the use of violence by nationalist groups. Such actions weren’t supported by Crimea and the East of Ukraine, noted the speaker.
The fears weren’t in vain, as was confirmed by the events in Odessa on May 2nd, 2014, when extremists burned to death 48 people, and “the police who were present didn’t intervene”, declared Kolodkin.
“In April, 2014, the acting President began the so-called ‘anti-terrorist operation’ in Donbass, which led to a tragic civil war in the east of Ukraine. … The anti-terrorist operation involves the use of irregular ‘voluntary battalions’, whose atrocities are characterized constantly in reports of the relevant international organizations, including the leadership of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR),” he said.
According to him, the inhabitants of Crimea had full right to a referendum on reunion with Russia – considering the doubtfulness of the legal grounds of the transfer of the peninsula to Ukraine, and the threat from radicals.
“Crimea was transferred to Ukraine in 1954 when Russia and Ukraine were a part of the USSR. The people of Crimea weren’t consulted … In 1995 Ukraine tried to cancel the Constitution of Crimea and the post of the President of Crimea, moreover, without the consent of Crimeans,” said the diplomat.
Furthermore the floor was taken by one more representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry — Ilya Rogachyov.
“The tragic events in East Ukraine led to a considerable number of victims among civilians. However, Ukraine misleads the court regarding the true character of these events. The true character of the armed conflict is a fight that is conducted by the Ukrainian authorities and its Armed Forces, including irregular battalions, ultranationalists, against the people of East Ukraine who self-organized into the DPR and LPR, seeking to protect themselves from those who seized power through the violent coup of 2014,” he told.
The Russian diplomat categorically disagreed with the Ukrainian assessment of the actions of the LDPR as terroristic.
“Ukraine can’t submit any document from any international organization or any state, other than from itself, that characterizes the actions of the DPR and LPR as acts of terrorism,” he said.
According to the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Aleksandr Turchynov in the spring of 2014 had no basis on which to declare the beginning of the anti-terrorist operation. “Already at this point “terrorism” was a cover for the use of weapons,” he said.
Rogachyov recognized that during military operations both parties admitted attacking civillian objects by mistake. However, the Ukrainian side bears responsibility for the most part of the victims among civilians.
“Since the shelling of residential quarters in Slavyansk in May, 2014, many civilians were killed and wounded as a result of attacks by the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” he said.
Rogachyov reminded that Ukraine continues to sabotage the Minsk Agreements.
“The DPR and LPR, which Ukraine now wants to brand as terrorists, signed the Minsk Agreements and are represented in the tripartite group, where the government of Ukraine continues to cooperate with them,” the diplomat reminded.
Moreover, the representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry noted that Ukraine, which accuses Russia of “sponsoring terrorism”, until recently continued economical cooperation with both the LDPR and with Moscow!
“Following this logic, should Ukraine be considered as a sponsor of terrorism?” Rogachyov venomously noted.
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