I’d just like to offer a couple of points in response.
First, for the Russians to blame Ukraine for Ukraine’s actions in defense of its own people and its own territory really is starting to remind me of the story of the school boy who returned home with his nose bloody and his shirt torn. And asked by his mother how the fight started, he said “it started when the other boy hit me back.” We have to be clear about cause and effect here; and many Council members, including myself, have already gone through the facts that have brought us to this point.
But my second point is to just debunk one more of the lies that have been told in this chamber because it relates to my country, to the United States. People in this chamber have heard many many times, including just now, that the United States and other countries, but I’ll speak only for my country, never called on protestors in the Maidan to leave buildings or to avoid violence. So the implication is that we are holding Russian separatists to a different standard. This is a claim that has been made in almost every session that we have had.
And I would just like to just correct the record:
January 15th 2014: “We condemn the actions of rioters outside of Kiev court building on January 10th.”
January 22nd 2014: “The aggressive actions of members of extreme right group Pravy Sektor are not acceptable and are inflaming conditions on the streets and undermining the efforts of peaceful protestors. We condemn the targeted attacks against journalists and unofficial groups such as ‘titushki’.”
January 24th: “Protestors have occupied some regional administration buildings and we re-iterate our call for all protestors and government forces to refrain from violence and the destruction of property.”
January 27th : “We condemn – we’ve also made clear that we condemn the use of violence to seize government buildings, such as the takeover of a ministry of justice building that happened over the last couple days and a public exhibition hall this weekend and have continued to reiterate our call for all protesters and government forces to refrain from violence and the destruction of property.”
These are just a few of the statements that we have made but we could just take that particular lie off the table, that would be helpful and a little more constructive.
What’s more important now is where do we go from here. And what I would ask my Russian colleague is: Will Russia make public statements and will it work privately behind the scenes to urge Russian separatists to negotiate peacefully their departure from public buildings? Where does Russia assess that Russian separatists who claim loyalty to your government and who wear uniforms just like those of your soldiers obtain weapons and training capable of shooting down Ukrainian helicopters? And finally, Russia again repeatedly takes aim at the so called illegitimate government in Kiev but refuses to acknowledge ever in any of these sessions that it did not embrace the February 21 agreement when it was negotiated. And here we have a golden opportunity on May 25th for the people of Eastern Ukraine to have their voices heard, for them to choose their own leaders, for us to get to a universally legitimate government respected and chosen by all the people of Ukraine. And yet Russia will not come out in support of these elections and work with us to ensure that these elections take place, which would be the best way of ensuring rights, representativeness and more autonomy for the people of Eastern Ukraine.
Thank you, Mr. President
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