Statement by Mr. Sergiy Kyslytsya, Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine during the round table discussion on the territorial integrity of Ukraine

Statement by Mr. Sergiy Kyslytsya, Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine during the round table discussion on the territorial integrity of Ukraine

Statement by Mr. Sergiy Kyslytsya, Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine during the round table discussion on the occasion of the Second Anniversary of the adoption of the GA Resolution «Territorial Integrity of Ukraine» (A/Res/68/262)
(17 March 2016, UN Trusteeship Council)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Two years ago the Russian Federation started its military aggression against Ukraine which shook the world community, proved fragility of the existing world order, challenged the UN Charter, its main Purposes and Principles.

I clearly remember the atmosphere in the UN those days. It was the atmosphere of shock, despair, horror and uncertainty since one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council blatantly violated the UN Charter.

On 28 February 2014 the issue of Russian aggression against Ukraine emerged on the UN Security Council agenda. Before long, the Russian Federation challenged and humiliated international community and this Organization by abusing its veto power and blocking the Council’s draft resolution on territorial integrity of Ukraine — thus proving its guilt and trying to avoid responsibility for its crimes.

We all know what happened next. On 16 March 2014 the Russian Federation organized illegal pseudo-referendum which was conducted with the participation of Russian regular troops.

The whole international community condemned such illegal actions of the Russian Federation which brazenly violated the UN Charter.

This is also where the General Assembly — the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN — stepped in.

Dear Friends,

On 27 March 2014 the General Assembly by an overwhelming majority — with highly symbolic 100 votes in favour — adopted the resolution 68/262 «Territorial Integrity of Ukraine». It is remarkable and telling that its co-sponsors included almost 50 UN member-states from all regional groups. Taking this opportunity, I would like to once again express deep gratitude of Ukraine to the supporters of this resolution. We equally appreciate statements of solidarity with Ukraine (including those by US and Turkey) in the context of the second anniversary of the Russian aggression.

Let me recall that this historic document underscored that the mentioned illegal referendum in Crimea has no validity and cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.

It also called upon all States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any changes in the status of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, as well as to refrain from any actions that might be so interpreted.

More broadly, the General Assembly urged all States to desist from actions aimed at the partial or total disruption of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, including any attempts to modify Ukraine’s borders through the threat or use of force.

Therefore, GA resolution 68/262 did not only safeguard the territorial integrity of Ukraine. It also shielded the fundamental Principles of the United Nations Charter.
It is equally hard to overestimate its practical effect. It serves as a legal guidance for the UN system and other international and regional organizations, thanks to which, for example, Crimea is marked as a part of Ukraine in all the UN documents and maps.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The resolution that gathered us here is as relevant today as it was two years ago. Despite this clear verdict of the international community, Russia did not return to the realm of international law for a single moment as regards Ukraine. Instead, if the occupation and illegal annexation of Crimea was not enough, to its crimes against the UN Charter Russia added military intervention in the Ukrainian Donbas.

In the span of two years of occupation of Crimea the Russian Federation has kept blatantly violating basic human rights of the Crimean population, including Crimean Tatars — the indigenous people of Crimea, as well as those of Ukrainians and other nationalities and ethnic minorities. We will have a chance to address this outrageous situation at the Security Council Arria formula meeting tomorrow morning.

There should be no doubt that Ukraine will leave no stone unturned — in diplomatic and legal terms — so as to stop the Russian aggression in Donbass and to de-occupy Crimea. In pursuit of this ultimate goal the General Assembly resolution «Territorial Integrity of Ukraine», along with the strong solidarity of the UN membership witnessed also here today, will play a major role.

Thank you.