Remarks by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at a Security Council Stakeout on Ukraine

Samantha Power
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
New York, NY
March 1, 2014


Good evening. Today in the Council, the United States renewed its call for the international community to support the newly formed government of Ukraine and prevent unnecessary violence.

Unfortunately, the Russian Federation Council's authorization of the use of military force in Ukraine is as dangerous as it is destabilizing. It is past time for the threats to end. The Russian military must pull back.

It is ironic that the Russian Federation regularly goes out of its way in the Security Council chamber to emphasize the sanctity of national borders and sovereignty. Today, Russia would do well to heed its own warnings. Russia's actions in Ukraine violate Russia's commitment to protect the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence of Ukraine, and pose a threat to international peace and security. We have said from the outset that we recognize and respect Russia's historical ties to Ukraine. But instead of engaging the government of Ukraine and international institutions about its concerns for ethnic Russians, it ignored both and has instead acted unilaterally and militarily.

The United States, again, calls for the immediate deployment of international observers from either the OSCE or United Nations to Crimea and other parts of Ukraine to provide transparency about the movement and activities of military and para-military forces in the region and to defuse the tension between groups. The best way to get the facts, to monitor conduct and to prevent any abuses is to get international monitors and observers - including from UN and OSCE - on the ground as soon as possible. We are also working to stand up an international mediation mission to the Crimea to begin to deescalate the situation, and to facilitate productive and peaceful political dialogue among all Ukrainian parties.

Less than one week since the sun set on the Sochi Olympics, we are at a critical moment. The United States considers the current actions by Russia in Ukraine as unacceptable behavior for a G-8 member. The United States will stand with the people of Ukraine and the Ukrainian government in Kyiv. And as the President has said, intervention by the Russian military will be both a grave mistake and have costs and consequences.

With that, I'll take a couple questions.

Reporter: James Bays from Al Jazeera. I know that President Obama has been speaking to President Putin. President Putin now has this authorization, but there's clearly now a gap before he decides whether he's going to use it. Just, explain to us if you can on camera what is the message from the U.S. to President Putin right now?

Ambassador Power: The message is, pull back your forces. Let us engage in political dialogue. Engage with the Ukrainian government which is reaching out to you for that dialogue. The occupation . . . the military presence in Crimea is a violation of international law and we all need to allow cooler heads to prevail and to negotiate a peaceful way out of this crisis. Military force will never be the answer to this crisis.

Reporter: Ambassador, what are those costs that the United States says that Russia will suffer; and secondly, as a champion of human rights, doesn't it trouble you that there are four senior members of this Ukrainian government who have come from very far right, extremist parties?

Ambassador: I think what you heard from President Obama in the readout that the White House issued is that the United States has already suspended its preparation for the G-8 Summit that was supposed to take place in Sochi. And what I can say is that, again, the political and economic isolation that that represents is only going to deepen as this crisis escalates. And that is why, again, it is incredibly important that an international observer mission get into Ukraine as soon as possible; that all countries embrace the prospect of international mediation, such as that offered by the UN Special Envoy Robert Serry; and that we embrace the fundamental tenets of the UN Charter: territorial integrity, sovereignty and unity of Ukraine, avoiding the use of force, and the threat of force, and returning to the path of peaceful dialogue.

Thank you.


PRN: 2014/035