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Russia ready to help Kiev settle crisis if they make correct decisions — Russian diplomat

May 29, 2014, 11:50 UTC+3 THE UNITED NATIONS

Russian ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin noted that after the May 25 presidential elections Kiev received “a very good opportunity” to rectify the situation

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THE UNITED NATIONS, May 29. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia is ready to help Kiev authorities to settle the current crisis in Ukraine, if they make correct decisions. Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Organization Vitaly Churkin said this at a session of the UN Security Council on Wednesday evening. He added, Kiev’s first step should be an end to a military operation in the country’s southeast.

“As you know, this is not Russia that plotted what has happened in your country [Ukraine], but Russia is still ready to help you to settle this affair, if you make correct decisions,” the diplomat told Ukrainian Ambassador to the UN Yuri Sergeyev. The latter in his speech and further debate with the Russian ambassador accused Moscow of “fanning up separatist moods.” In return, Churkin recalled that the situation in eastern Ukraine “has been getting ripen at least after a state coup which broke out in Kiev on February 22.”

The Russian ambassador noted that after the May 25 presidential elections Kiev received “a very good opportunity” to rectify the situation. In this regard, Churkin noted special responsibility that Ukrainian president-elect Petro Poroshenko bears. “He should take correct decisions, but should not take steps that will deadlock further the situation that had emerged in your country,” the diplomat warned.

Churkin noted that Russia was prepared to help Kiev to establish dialogue with south-eastern Ukrainian regions, two of which — Donetsk and Luhansk regions proclaimed independence at referenda in May. “Stop a military operation and then we will help you to establish dialogue. We have been saying about this all the time,” he said to Sergeyev. He drew attention of the Ukrainian diplomat to his words that southeast of the country had been “a depressive region” which had been in a heavy social-economic situation. “You cannot settle the problem of depression by artillery strikes or bombings,” the Russian ambassador said.

He also called for development of Russian-Ukrainian economic co-operation. “You remember which major proposals we have made even before a state coup which broke out in your country on February 22. You waved all this aside and now you want to close the border with Russia and walk out from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS),” Churkin noted. He noted that two countries had “a major prospect of bilateral relations.” “Let’s try to develop them constructively and try to overcome this hardest period in our relations and the most troubled period in Ukrainian history as quickly as possible,” the Russian diplomat noted.

For his part, Sergeyev did not rule out possible talks, but noted that Crimea’s return that Kiev considers as Ukraine’s integral territory in principle as a question of paramount importance at talks. “Talks will be held as we believe on a broad agenda of our relations and they will be dictated by Kiev in concrete issues,” he noted.

Noting a deteriorating situation in southeast Ukraine, Churkin urged the UN Security Council to make Kiev stop immediately a punitive operation and realize the need in taking into account the interests of all the country’s citizens. This will permit Ukraine to start “a truly nationwide dialogue” and develop “a mutually acceptable constitutional reform,” he said. Meanwhile, he named roundtable meetings that Kiev holds without representatives of south-eastern regions as a pretext for its military operation.

The Russian diplomat said with regret that several UN Security Council members “continue to justify in all possible ways forcible actions of Kiev authorities.”

At the UN Security Council meeting that lasted for about two hours the Russian ambassador proposed to involve immediately UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to efforts to stop violence in Ukraine. “If we wanted the UN Security Council to fulfil its political function, let’s consider how violence can be stopped as quickly as possible,” the diplomat said. He noted that in his speech Sergeyev hailed Ban Ki-moon’s mediating efforts. “Probably, the UN general secretary will really engage immediately in efforts to stop violence in eastern Ukraine?” Churkin said to the UN Security Council.

The UN Secretariat stated that the world organization had already been involved in these efforts through its human rights monitoring mission and a UN office operating in the country.

The UN Security Council has raised quite expectedly the issue of observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) working in Ukraine. On May 26, a group of four OSCE observers was reported missing in the east of the country, there is no phone contact with them yet. On Wednesday, one more group of 11 observers going to the central Ukrainian city of Dnepropetrovsk was detained on Wednesday, but they were released later.

Churkin confirmed that the OSCE observer group included a Russian citizen and pledged that Russia “within its possibilities” was taking measures to search for and free lost observers. For his part, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman urged all conflicting parties to assist in the search for and comeback of lost observers.

The Russian ambassador agreed that the May 25 elections were “a step in the right direction”, but noted that they “were not free and democratic in a full sense of the word.” “But strongest pressure was exerted on several candidates, including threats of physical violence and some of them had to quit the presidential race,” Churkin noted. He noted that people expressed their will “amid tough restrictions on the activity of media which were permitted to express only one point of view.” “Consolidation of people was mainly attained thanks to labeling whole regions of the country and an unbridled anti-Russian propaganda,” the Russian ambassador noted.

He also urged to remind events which preceded presidential elections in Ukraine - “outrages that rivals of the legitimately elected president [Viktor Yanukovych] striving to power committed” and a state coup “which was staged with support from abroad with backing on nationalist radical forces.” Churkin also noted the tragedy in the Ukrainian Black Sea port city of Odessa on May 2 and in the south-eastern Donetsk regional city of Mariupol on May 9 as well as a punitive operation in east Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the diplomat said with hope that elections “all the same will give rise to a new, more constructive period in the domestic political life of Ukrainian state.” However, for this he urged Kiev authorities to take concrete measures “to attain a broad national accord.” “Ukrainian politicians have already repeatedly upset strongly expectations of their people,” Churkin recalled, noting that “We hope that this will not happen in current extremely responsible period for the country.”

The debate on presumed combat use of helicopters with signs of the organization by Ukrainian troops in the east of the country was continued at the UN Security Council meeting. The UN Secretariat cannot check whether these reports, video and photo materials were true, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman stated. In turn, Churkin urged the UN Secretariat “not to be a passive observer of such a blatant violation of UN rules, tackle the issue and take effective measures to stop such discrediting practice for the UN.” “The mere denial of these facts is not obviously enough for Kiev authorities,” the Russian permanent representative at the UN added.

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