THE UNITED NATIONS, June 6. /TASS/. The United Nations Security Council (UN SC) adopted a presidential statement on Wednesday, condemning continuous ceasefire violations in eastern Ukraine and urging all the conflicting parties to recommit to the Minsk peace process.
The presidential statement (read out by Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Vassily Nebenzia, Council president for June) has become the UN Security Council’s first document on Ukraine since February 2015.
"The Security Council expresses grave concern about the recent deterioration of the security situation in eastern Ukraine and its severe impact on the civilian population," the document says.
The document condemns "continuous violations of the ceasefire regime, especially the use of heavy weapons prohibited by the Minsk agreements" and calls "for the implementation of disengagement commitments and the immediate withdrawal of heavy weapons in accordance with relevant provisions of the Minsk agreements."
The Security Council restated its support for "the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine," and encouraged "all the parties to recommit to the peace process and to implement all the measures agreed in the Normandy format and the Trilateral Contact Group in order to achieve immediate progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements."
Besides, the presidential statement reaffirms the UN Security Council’s full support "for resolution 2166 (2014) on the downing of flight MH17."
The document was published in six official languages of the United Nations, namely Russian, English, Arabic, Spanish, Chinese and French. A presidential statement is a step below a Security Council resolution. Unlike press statements, presidential statements are read at a UN SC meeting and they become part of the Council’s official record.
According to diplomats, it is the first statement of the Council’s president since the conflict broke out in Donbass. The Council’s latest decision on Ukraine was Resolution 2202 as of the year of 2015 in support of the Minsk accords. Moreover, the Council’s members made two press statements on Ukraine in recent years, with the last one in January 2017.
It is noteworthy that the June 6 presidential statement focuses on humanitarian issues for the first time ever. The Security Council hails the work of the United Nations agencies "in order to address the tragic humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine and emphasizes the need for scaling up efforts to alleviate suffering of the civilian population affected by the conflict."
On May 29, the UN Security Council held a meeting on the situation in Ukraine, the first open meeting since February 2017. At the meeting, Russia suggested a statement be adopted that would give strong backing to implementing the Minsk agreements, which seek to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Later, Germany and France drafted their text. The Netherlands insisted a paragraph about the downing of flight MH17 be inserted into the Russian-drafted document. On June 1, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Vassily Nebenzia expressed the hope that the Security Council would be able to negotiate a balanced statement on Ukraine.