As for delivery by the Delegation of Ukraine to the
1125th special meeting of the Permanent Council, 20 December
I regret to inform the Permanent Council that the Russian
aggression against Ukraine continues unabated and the last few days registered
a deadly spike in hostilities. In particular, the combined Russian-separatist
forces undertook an offensive operation to seize control of Ukrainian Armed
Forces positions and territory near the town of Svitlodarsk.
From early morning of 18 December 2016 the combined
Russian-separatist forces resorted to intensive shelling of the Ukrainian
positions near Svitlodarsk with the use of mortars - nearly 700 mortar rounds
were fired - and tubed artillery. They conducted the shelling positioning their
weapons in the residential areas of Debaltseve, Vuhlehirsk, Kalynivka. The
extended artillery attack was followed by an offensive operation of the
combined Russian-separatist forces aiming to advance in the direction of the
settlement of Luhanske and to seize strategically important locations
controlled by the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
In the course of the day repeated attempts of advance were
undertaken accompanied by three massive artillery shellings lasting from three
to six hours each. The shellings damaged the civilian infrastructure facilities
and power lines leaving Svitlodarsk and villages around it without electricity.
In the evening, three artillery shells exploded near the school in Luhanske.
The attacks were repelled by the defences and a counter-attack of the Ukrainian
Armed Forces, making the units of the combined Russian-separatist forces
Unfortunately, the Ukrainian Armed Forces sustained the
biggest one-day losses in the last five months: 5 Ukrainian servicemen lost
their lives, 16 were wounded and injured, 1 was reported missing.
Notably, the offensive operation by the combined
Russian-separatist forces was attempted at a distance of 36 km from the line of
contact established by the Minsk Memorandum of 19 September 2014 and registered
in the Minsk Package of Measures of 12 February 2015.
It is a matter of deep concern that over Monday-Tuesday the
security situation in Donbas has shown no signs of stabilization and decrease
of violence. Areas near Svitlodarsk remained the dangerous hotspot as Russian
hybrid forces re-launched their offensive attempts by tactic assault groups
that followed the intensive artillery shellings. As a result of these attacks,
1 Ukrainian soldier was killed, 17 were wounded and injured.
The situation along other sections of the contact line was
also marked by intensive hostilities and armed provocations by the combined
Russian separatist forces. The heavy shellings were registered in Avdiyivka,
Shyrokyne, Maryinka, Vodyane, Krymske and Novotroitske, including from mortars,
122 mm caliber artillery and tanks. The Ukrainian forces in Stanytsya Luhanska
were targeted by intensive sniper fire.
The continuing blatant violations of the Minsk agreements by
the combined Russian-separatist forces leading to loss of life and damage of
infrastructure near Svitlodarsk and elsewhere along the line of contact
underscore the urgent need of immediate implementation of initial security
provisions of the Minsk agreements and establishment of permanent monitoring
and verification by the OSCE at the uncontrolled sections of the
Ukrainian-Russian state border as agreed in the Minsk Protocol of 5 September
We encourage the OSCE Chairmanship to use all instruments at
its disposal to facilitate establishment of comprehensive cease-fire, envisaged
as the first step in each of the Minsk documents, and stimulate the Russian
Federation towards full implementation of undertaken commitments under the
We consider unacceptable that Russia and its proxies
continue to block the process of release of hostages and illegally detained
persons. As this issue remains the top humanitarian priority, the Ukrainian
authorities have decided to unilaterally release 15 persons. We hope this
goodwill gesture will give an impetus to the release process and will be
responded by Russia and its proxies in accordance with the undertaken Minsk
We reiterate that the relevant provision of the Minsk
Package of measures applies equally to the Ukrainian citizens, including Oleh
Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko and others, who are held in illegal detention in
On 19 December the UN General Assembly adopted the
Resolution “Situation of human rights in Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the
city of Sevastopol (Ukraine)”, reconfirming the resolute position of the
international community on the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of
Sevastopol as an integral part of Ukraine’s territory, condemning their
temporary occupation by Russia and not recognizing their attempted annexation.
Against the backdrop of the dire human rights situation in
the occupied Crimea, we deem it of particular importance that the Resolution
refers to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, which, inter alia, provide
for the humane treatment of the population, living in the occupied territory,
and protect its rights under international humanitarian law.
In this regard the condemnation by the UNGA Resolution of
the systematic human rights violations carried out by the Russian occupation
authorities, including extrajudicial executions, abductions, politically
motivated persecution and restriction of basic political rights of Crimean
residents should be a significant step towards defending human rights and
fundamental freedoms of the Ukrainian citizens, living in the occupied
We consider as one of essential elements of the Resolution a
call to ensure the unimpeded access of international human rights monitoring
mechanisms to the temporary occupied peninsula to monitor and report on the
situation according to their mandates.
We urge on Russia as an occupying power, to take
responsibility for stopping all human rights violations on the peninsula and to
facilitate free and unconditional access of the international monitors to
I will conclude by reiterating our persistent call on Russia
to restore its respect for the norms of international law and the OSCE
principles and commitments, to halt its aggression against Ukraine, to
implement fully and in good faith its commitments under the Minsk agreements
and to reverse the illegal occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and
the city of Sevastopol.
Thank you, Mr.Chairman.