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Ukraine: Russia’s Aggression Re-defining Crude Assaults

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Since February 20, 2014, when Russia began what is seen in diplomatic circle as the cruelest form of aggression against Ukraine, which resulted in the tentative Russia’s occupation of Crimea, the International Community is unanimous in its condemnation of Russia’s action. As the International group of friends of de-occupation of Crimea gathers to marks the fourth anniversary of the Russian occupation Crimea, OMONU NELSON examines the push and pull in Russia-Ukraine diplomatic altercation. 

This February, the International Group of Friends of de-occupation of Crimea, worldwide, will mark the Fourth Year anniversary of the Russian aggression against Crimea. Analysts say, the four year old brut aggression of Russia against Ukraine has pitched the whole world against Russia. It has made it a pariah nation and a lone voice in global affairs.

In the 2018, meeting of the International group of friends of de-occupation of Crimea, hosted by the Ukraine embassy in Abuja, the Ukrainian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Valerie Aleksander called on the International community to strengthen the sanctions on Russia for its act of arm aggression against Ukraine.

“The only way to stop Russian aggression against Ukraine is the imposition of sanction. Sanction is a very potent instrument. The sanction imposed by the European Union (EU), the United States, Canada, Japan etc, is very effective and needs to be sustained. It is only a matter of time, it will force Russian troops to withdraw from Ukraine’s territory.

Mr Aleksander affirmed that, Ukraine has enjoyed tremendous International support since Russia started its aggression against Ukraine in February 2014.

Speaking specifically, on how the sanction is affecting Russia, Mr Aleksander explained that; “Don’t forget that Russia was banned from accessing funds from international Finance Institutions. Also, some top officials of Russian government, were banned from entering the European Union countries, the United States and Canada.”

The Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko had in September, 2017, suggested the idea of creating an International group of friends of de-occupation of Crimea to coordinate common steps and actions of the World community.

In his statement during the General Debate of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly on 20 September, 2017 Poroshenko expressed the hope on International support of Ukraine’s initiatives to ensure observance of human rights in the temporarily occupied Crimea, in particular a further respective UNGA resolution.

“We need to strengthen the international regime of de-occupation of Crimea” – said Ukraine’s President.

“The fact that at the highest international level – UN General Assembly – Russia was recognized as an occupying power proves that we are on the right track. The time has come to establish an international group of friends of Ukrainian Crimea to coordinate our common steps.

We count on coordinated and targeted support of our international partners.

Militarization of Crimea is another security threat that affects the whole of Southern and Eastern Europe as well as North Africa and the Middle East.

Together with our neighbours and partners we urge Russia to ensure full compliance with its commitments under the OSCE Vienna Document and other international rules concerning military activities” – underlined Mr. Poroshenko.

This mechanism of the gradual – peaceful – pushing Russia out of the occupied Crimea previews the instruments of international law, sanctions, international courts and arbitrage, international platforms and monitoring mechanisms – starting with the UN, and ending with UNESCO.

All over the world Ukrainian diplomatic services undertake its efforts to organize a series of conferences, seminars, meetings, speeches and addresses in order to attract a larger international attention and support to the gradual peaceful pushing Russia out from the occupied Ukrainian Crimea.

The presence of foreign diplomats, representatives of local authorities, political elite, international experts, media and the general public at such events is aimed at increasing international pressure on Russia and confirming international intolerance to any manifestations of military aggression, rude assault of international law norms, gross violations of human rights.

Russia launched its well-planned armed aggression against Ukraine on 20 February 2014 with the military operation of its Armed Forces on seizing a part of the Ukrainian territory  - Crimean peninsula.

of international law and implement the undertaken commitments. We again urge Russia to reverse the illegal occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol, and to stop its aggression against Ukraine, including by withdrawing its troops from the Ukrainian territory and fully implementing its commitments under the Minsk agreements.

Political and economic sanctions were imposed on Russia in response to its aggression against Ukraine, therefore, stopping Russian military aggression against Ukraine and the reinstatement of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity may be the only reason for their cancellation. In other circumstances, Russia will continue its aggression, extending it to other states in the region. We count on coordinated and targeted support of our international partners.

In February, 2018 the World will marked the 4th anniversary of the one of rudest violation of the International law and Peace principles of the current Human history – the Russian occupation of Ukrainian Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

According to Aleksander, the Ukrainian Envoy to Nigeria, This mechanism of the gradual – peaceful – pushing Russia out of the occupied Crimea previews the instruments of international law, sanctions, international courts and arbitrage, international platforms and monitoring mechanisms – starting with the UN, and ending with UNESCO.

All over the world Ukrainian diplomatic services undertake its efforts to organize a series of conferences, seminars, meetings, speeches and addresses in order to attract a larger international attention and support to the gradual peaceful pushing Russia out from the occupied Ukrainian Crimea.

“The presence of foreign diplomats, representatives of local authorities, political elite, international experts, media and the general public at such events is aimed at increasing international pressure on Russia and confirming international intolerance to any manifestations of military aggression, rude assault of international law norms, gross violations of human rights.”

Russia launched its well-planned armed aggression against Ukraine on 20 February 2014 with the military operation of its Armed Forces on seizing a part of the Ukrainian territory  - Crimean peninsula. This date is not even denied by the Russian Ministry of Defense, as it is indicated on the departmental medal “For the return of Crimea”. The Kremlin has always been firmly convinced that Russia will never become a world leader without control over Ukraine, meanwhile a democratic and prosperous Ukraine is a threat to the current authoritarian rule in Russia.

The Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol are integral parts of Ukraine where the Constitution of Ukraine and laws of Ukraine prevail. The whole civilized world imposed sanctions on Russia as punishment for its ‘land grab’ of Crimea as a sovereign part of Ukraine. Crimea is neither a Russian territory nor а «disputed territory». The Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol is a temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation territory of Ukraine.

In the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 68/262 of 27 March 2014 «Territorial integrity of Ukraine» the international community affirmed its commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders; called upon all States to desist and refrain from actions aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including any attempts to modify Ukraine’s borders through the threat or use of force or other unlawful means; called upon all States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any alteration of the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol on the basis of the so-called referendum held on 16 March 2014 and to refrain from any action or dealing that might be interpreted as recognizing any such altered status. Yet another UN General Assembly Resolutions 71/205 of 19 December 2016 and 72/190 of 19 December 2017 «Situation of human rights in Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine)» provided a clear definition on the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol as part of the territory of Ukraine, condemned the temporary occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and did not recognize its attempted annexation by the occupying State. Crimea is Ukraine. Ukraine expects all international sides and actors to stay impartial and objective as well as to show respect to territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine at all times. Failure to do so would contravene fundamental principles of international law.

Human rights situation in Crimea has significantly deteriorated since the beginning of its occupation by the Russian Federation and the imposition of a new citizenship and legal framework and the resulting administration of justice have significantly limited the enjoyment of human rights for the residents of Crimea. Grave human rights violations affecting the right to life, liberty and security have not been effectively investigated. The judiciary has failed to uphold the rule of law and exercise proper administration of justice.

Russian Federation authorities in Crimea prevented any criticism or dissent and outlawing organized opposition, such as the Mejlis.

Militarization of Crimea is another security threat that affects the whole of Southern and Eastern Europe as well as North Africa and the Middle East.

Mr Aleksander told International group of friends that, “As you well know, Ukraine voluntarily dismantled its own nuclear arsenal, the third largest in the world at the time with from 2800 to 4200 tactical nuclear warheads, in exchange for security, sovereignty and territorial integrity assurances under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum.

Regretfully, all these assurances remained just a piece of paper. Let’s be frank, we failed to pass exam with the Budapest memorandum. Then democratic world lost its first battle – it was not only about Ukraine, but also about credibility of agreements.

One more problem, which emanates from Russia’s occupation of Crimea, is its intentions to deploy tactic nuclear weapons and means of delivery in the occupied peninsula.

This would destroy the global system of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and brutally violate Ukraine’s non-nuclear status.

“Two weeks ago, additional numbers of S-400 long range air defense missile system were deployed near the city of Sevastopol, reinforcing the threats of Russia’s aggressive and revisionist policies. Moreover, Russia uses temporarily occupied Crimea for projecting its aggressive policies not only in Ukraine but also in other corners of the world.

The conflict, started by Russia through military invasion and occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol and launching a hybrid warfare in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, will soon enter its fifth year. Over all this time, the violence has never effectively stopped.”

In the occupied Crimea Russia consolidates its military grip and perpetrates grave violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law.

A 409,7 km section of the Ukrainian-Russian state border in the east remains out of control by the Government of Ukraine. Russia continues to supply weapons, ammunition and fuel to the occupied territory through the uncontrolled section of the Ukrainian-Russian state border in order to strengthen the units of its regular troops, deployed in Donbas, as well as the illegal armed formations, it backs.

The Report of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued on December 4, 2017 is another confirmation of the inevitability of bringing the Russian leadership to criminal liability for the article 5 of the Rome Statute of the ISS, the internationally unlawful actions of the Russian Federation against Ukraine and confirmed the existence of an international armed conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine in connection with the occupation of Crimea at the end of February 2014, as well as a number of crimes in the Donbas.

The report provides assessment that the situation in Crimea and Sevastopol amounts to an international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation which began at the latest on 26 February 2014.

In general, the report refers to 10 225 people killed, including at least 2 505 civilians, and 24 541 injured (between April 2014 and August 2017) as well as to a further 298 civilians, including 80 children, killed in the downing of the civilian flight MH17 on 17 July 2014.

In the last decade the Russian Federation has established its track-record of flagrant disregard for its international obligations and commitments and for the rules-based security order underpinned by the norms and principles of the Helsinki Final Act and the Paris Charter. In the interests of European security it remains critically important to maintain and step up politico-diplomatic pressure on Russia to make it return to the tenets of international law and implement the undertaken commitments. We again urge Russia to reverse the illegal occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol, and to stop its aggression against Ukraine, including by withdrawing its troops from the Ukrainian territory and fully implementing its commitments under the Minsk agreements.

Political and economic sanctions were imposed on Russia in response to its aggression against Ukraine, therefore, stopping Russian military aggression against Ukraine and the reinstatement of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity may be the only reason for their cancellation. In other circumstances, Russia will continue its aggression, extending it to other states in the region.

We count on coordinated and targeted support of our international partners.

 





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