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Foreign Ministry to present updated human rights violations book soon

June 09, 2014, 21:39 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Foreign Ministry human rights ombudsman Konstantin Dolgov said the new version would cover the period from early April until early June of this year
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© ITAR-TASS/Gennady Khamelyanin

MOSCOW, June 09. /ITAR-TASS/. The Russian Foreign Ministry hopes to complete working soon on its updated White Book on large-scale human rights violations in Ukraine, Foreign Ministry human rights ombudsman Konstantin Dolgov told Rossiya-24 television channel on Monday.

“Unfortunately, the list continues to expand,” Dolgov said. “The Foreign Ministry is currently working on its completion, and we hope to update the White Book already published in the coming days.”

The diplomat said the new version would cover the period from early April until early June of this year and would include “probably the most shocking humanitarian crimes”.

Among these were killings of civilians in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and events in Mariupol, where Ukrainian law enforcers opened fire from armored vehicles on those rallying to honor World War Two's Victory Day, he said. There was also a massacre in Odessa, where dozens died in a fire started by Right Sector radicals and supporters from the Maidan Self-Defense Forces.

And there were illegal arrests of journalists, including Russian television journalists Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko, detained by Ukraine’s National Guard near the city of Kramatorsk.

“The list is very long. We will try to reflect the essential facts,” Dolgov said. “Our aim is to present facts to the international community and to attract more attention in order to influence the Ukrainian authorities in a proper way.”

The White Book integrates numerous facts of human rights abuses in Ukraine between the end of November 2013 and the end of March 2014. It is based on information from Russian, Ukrainian and Western media sources, statements by representatives of current authorities in Kiev and their supporters, eyewitness accounts and on-the-spot observations and interviews of Russian non-commercial organizations.

Its main purpose is to provide the public with facts and evidence of events in Ukraine, helping to form non-politicized, unbiased assessments and to call to account those responsible for the illegal actions.

The book consists of several sections. The first of them lists clashes between extremists and law enforcers, and facts of extortion and blackmailing. It also contains evidence of torture of political opponents by extremists who poured gasoline on their captives and threatened to set them on fire, beat them with spades and drove needles under their nails.

The second section deals with instances of interference by foreign countries in events in Ukraine, including visits to the Maidan (Kiev’s Independence Square, the scene of confrontation and mass unrest in late 2013 and early 2014) by European Parliament deputies and diplomats from Europe and the United States.

A separate section describes extremists’ tactics used in clashes with law enforcers and is based to a large extent on evidence provided by Ukrainian law enforcers themselves, including members of the Berkut anti-riot police force, which was accused of using violence against “peaceful” demonstrators in Kiev and eventually dissolved.

Another section focuses on censorship in Ukrainian mass media after the coup that brought the opposition to power and forced legitimate Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to flee the country. It also cites facts of ethnic strife and discrimination on linguistic, ethnic and religious grounds.

The White Book was published on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website and presented to President Vladimir Putin on May 5.

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