Lithuania’s UN ambassador: Russia is responsible for Mariupol tragedy

Lithuanian Ambassador to the United Nations Security Council Raimonda Murmokaitė
AFP/Scanpix

“Last Wednesday in this hall the Security Council members once again expressed concern and urged all parties to the conflict, including Russia, to return to the Minsk agreements and ensure their prompt and full implementation in order to prevent even more destruction and bloodshed. Alas what we saw over the weekend was more deadly shelling, more destruction, more human tragedy caused by the Kremlin’s unbridled mercenaries, including the deadly attack against Mariupol which this Council failed to condemn because Russia put protecting the militants above condemning the perpetrators,” she told the UN Security Council meeting in New York.

In Murmokaitė’s words, a country does not seek peace by arming illegal fighters in a neighboring country with advanced artillery systems, multiple rocket launchers, truckloads of arms and ammunition, and tanks. Such a country does not seek peace by sending own troops and commandos to fight on the soil of its neighbor.

“As long as Russia persists on this course, let us be frank, peace in Ukraine has no chances,” the Lithuanian ambassador said.

The separatist leaders had repeatedly stated there would be no ceasefire. And hours before the Mariupol assault, they announced the launch of the attack on the city, Murmokaitė said, adding that on the eve of the attack, Russia’s Ambassador to the OSCE Andrey Kelin spoke about Mariupol’s “liberation” in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

“And yet, in spite of the obvious, Russia continues to blame Ukraine for ceasefire violations, including the Mariupol attack. Anti-Ukrainian rhetoric is not abating,” the Lithuanian ambassador said.

Despite all ceasefire violations and military attacks, the Ukrainian leadership remains convinced that the Minks agreements are the only way to ensure peace. The Minsk agreements, however, must be implemented by all parties to the conflict, including Russia.

“The onus is on Russia to put an end to this senseless war by ending support to illegal armed groups operating in the east of Ukraine, accepting international monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian border, withdrawing its troops and weaponry from eastern Ukraine,” Murmokaitė said.

She also once again called for the release of all illegally detained persons, including Nadia Savchenko, and also giving international observers, including the UN and OSCE monitoring missions, full and unconditional access to the whole territory of Ukraine, including Crimea.

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