21 february / 2019

The Situation in Ukraine

Unofficial translation

Since the coup d'état of 2014 that was openly supported by the United States and several Western countries, Ukraine has been sinking deeper into political turmoil, corruption, lawlessness and rampant aggressive nationalism.

Over the past five years, a wave of politically and ideologically motivated violence and crimes has engulfed Ukraine. In most cases, they are given no adequate legal assessment. Despite numerous testimonies of witnesses of and participants in the Maidan events of February 2014, no impartial investigation into the so-called "sniper case" has been conducted. In May that year, the entire civilized world was horrified by the carnage in Odessa that had been unleashed by Ukrainian fascists and resulted in dozens of innocent people burned alive. That crime remains unsolved, and the instigators of brutal murders, including of former deputy fr om the Party of Regions Oleg Kalashnikov, writer Oles Buzina and journalist Pavel Sheremet, are still at large.

Contrary to their statements about their commitment to democracy and respect for human rights and freedoms, the Ukrainian authorities in fact have declared a manhunt for those with their own views that are different fr om the official ones. Criminal proceedings are initiated against people who disagree with the policies of the current regime. Director of RIA Novosti's Ukraine branch Kirill Vyshinsky who was falsely accused of "treason" and imprisoned is one of the victims of the fight against dissent. Many independent Ukrainian journalists face harassment and persecution. According to the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, 235 violations of freedom of speech and 86 assaults on media workers were registered in 2018. Over the past five years, 18 journalists have been killed in Ukraine, including 6 Russian citizens.

The Russian citizens that are held in Ukraine and should have been released by Kiev as part of the exchange based on the "all for all" principle under the Minsk Agreements are also getting drawn into the wheels of the repressive machine as well. In particular, in December 2018, a Russian national, Valery Ivanov, died in very mysterious circumstances in the prison colony near Lvov; back in 2017, he was included in the exchange lists but at the last minute, the Ukrainian side refused to transfer him to the representatives of Donetsk.

The scandalous Ukrainian website Myrotvorets containing personal information on more than 120 thousand people who disagree with the politics of Kiev continues its work.

Attacks on human rights activists and public figures have become regular. According to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, more than 50 crimes against civil activists were recorded in 2018. Many opposition politicians, businessmen, journalists, political scientists and public figures have fled the country under the threat of criminal prosecution and physical violence.

Kiev continues to consciously cultivate the division of society on ethnic and ideological grounds. Militant chauvinism and xenophobia have been brought to the level of official policy. Nazi accomplices, collaborators and terrorists, such as Stepan Bandera, Roman Shukhevych, Yevhen Konovalets, Andriy Melnyk, etc., are glorified at the State level. Pro-fascist groups C14, National Corps, White Hammer and others encouraged by the Kiev authorities are marching around the country. Summer camps wh ere children are raised in a racially charged spirit and taught to destroy the "enemies of the Ukrainian State" are blatantly operating in Western Ukraine.

According to the annual report of the Israel Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, Ukraine has become the absolute leader in manifestations of anti-Semitism and intolerance towards people of Jewish origin. In this regard, it is quite significant that, along with the United States, Ukraine remains almost the only country that systematically votes against the resolution A/RES/73/157 "Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance" adopted annually by the UN General Assembly on the initiative of Russia.

The discrimination of rights and freedoms of national minorities is unprecedented. In fact, the new law "On Education" deprives their representatives of the opportunity to get education in their mother tongue.

The process of total Ukrainization covers all spheres of life in the country wh ere the majority of the population either speaks Russian in everyday life or considers it their native language. The law on "The Use of the Ukrainian Language as the State Language" de facto prohibiting the use of the Russian language is being prepared for adoption by the Verkhovna Rada. Even today public speaking in Russian can be punished in some regions in Western Ukraine. We consider it a blatant linguistic discrimination. Yet, this time Europe has once again totally ignored such an outrageous human rights violation.

The European partners are equally indifferent to Kiev's violations of the freedom of religion, the choice of denomination and the secret of faith. Notwithstanding the Constitution, the Ukrainian authorities have interfered in the religious life of the country. Having established the so-called "Ukrainian Orthodox Church", they have deepened the split existing in the local Orthodoxy and divided the Ukrainians into "friends" and "foes". The Ukrainian authorities have given "the green light" to the forced division of patrimony and abolishment of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Its clergymen are openly threatened with physical violence. Thus, a member of Parliament and the adviser to the President of Ukraine, a rampant nationalist Dmytro Yarosh, publicly incites "to hunt Moscow popes" and blasphemously notes that they will be "murdered with love" because of the cited natural "mercifulness of the Ukrainians". Such provocative statements are fraught with the gravest consequences up to a bloody sectarian war.

All this is taking place against the backdrop of the simmering armed conflict in Donbass. Kiev is ready to fuel it with a vengeance at any time to return the region under its control turning a blind eye to any possible victims. According to the UN, since April 2014 when the hostilities burst out, the death toll has exceeded 12 thousand, hundreds of people are missing and hundreds of thousands have become forced migrants.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian authorities continue the trade and economic, energy and transportation blockade imposed against the South-East which deteriorates the already complex situation.

The reigning legal nihilism and anarchy in Ukraine do not get a due response from Western partners, and this just encourages the Kiev authorities to new antidemocratic steps, breaches of the norms of moral and civilized behavior. Feeling ashamed of no one, Kiev goes ahead with the vicious practice of segregation of its own citizens, dissociating itself from those of them who were compelled to go to Russia to earn their living. At the authorities' whim, millions of Ukrainians who found themselves in our country suddenly appeared to be destitute of their constitutional right to vote at the elections of President of Ukraine in its diplomatic missions in the territory of the Russian Federation.

Equally offhand interpret the Ukrainian authorities their international obligations within the OSCE by banning Russian observers from participating in the ODIHR mission to monitor the electoral process in the territory of Ukraine.

In its turn, Russia is confirming its readiness to ensure all necessary conditions for a secure and transparent expression of will of the Ukrainians residing in our country in accordance with the generally accepted democratic standards and norms of international law. We are hereby inviting the dedicated OSCE bodies to participate in monitoring the election of President of Ukraine at the polling stations in the territory of the Russian Federation, if opened by the Ukrainian side.

We are again calling on the UN, OSCE and the Council of Europe to give a principled assessment to all that is happening in Ukraine, to call on its authorities to recover the rule of law and rigorously adhere to its international obligations. The consequences of Kiev's refusal to observe these norms might be irreversible for both Ukraine and Europe as a whole.