“The conflict in Ukraine is not an internal affair. Not a civil war. Nor a rebellion of disgruntled citizens. It is Russia’s war against Ukraine for daring to choose a different – European – path,” said Permanent Representative of Lithuania to the UN, Ambassador Raimonda Murmokaitė.
The ambassador expressed concern about Russia‘s continuous support to separatist fighters that was reported by the observers of the Organization for Security and Co-operartion in Europe (OSCE). OSCE observers registered unmarked convoys of trucks carrying substantial amounts of heavy weaponry, ammunition, and tanks cross the Russian-Ukrainian border and moving westwards inside the separatist-held areas.
The Lithuanian ambassador urged Russia to observe the Minsk agreement and allow unhindered monitoring by the OSCE of the Ukrainian-Russian state border, and noted that a peaceful settlement of the crisis in eastern Ukraine is in Russia’s hands. “As Ukraine upholds the ceasefire commitments, Russia-backed separatists used the time to rearm and grab more territory,” said Murmokaitė.
The abduction of an Estonian intelligence officer on the Estonia side of the border and a Ukrainian pilot in Ukraine, the alarming rise in the intensity and gravity of provocations involving Russian reconnaissance and fighter jets over an increasing territory, from the Baltic Sea region to Portugal, the US, Canada, and Japan – all this illustrates that Russian aggression is going well beyond Ukraine’s borders, said Ambassador Murmokaitė.
Representatives from the Special Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, from the Trilateral Contact Group, and from the UN Political Department underlined the necessity of upholding the provisions of Minsk agreement and the need to de-escalate the crisis in the east of Ukraine. The participants of the session agreed that inability to secure the Russian-Ukraine border is one of the key factors of the conflict escalation.