KIEV, April 28. /ITAR-TASS/. The Kiev authorities have called for a meeting of the OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation and the OSCE Permanent Council over the situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border.
“Ukraine is initiating a joint meeting of the OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation and Permanent Council, as provided for in Clause 16.3 of the Vienna Document, to discuss the situation on the eastern border of our state,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said on Monday, April 28.
Parliament-appointed Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said earlier that Kiev was waiting for information from Moscow “within 48 hours” on “what (Russian) soldiers are doing on the Ukrainian border”.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said that in reply to Kiev’s inquiry Moscow had failed to provide exhaustive explanations regarding the purpose and place of military manoeuvres held in the Southern and Western Military Districts over the past several days near the Ukrainian border, the date of their completion and the number and type of military units involved.
“Given the insufficient information received, Ukraine has suggested to Russia that consultations be held in Vienna on April 28, as provided for in the abovementioned document, in order to discuss this issue. Other states that have voiced concern about Russia’s military activities near the Ukrainian border have also been invited to take part in the consultations,” the Foreign Ministry said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the Russia Today television channel this week that Russian troops were staying on their own territory and were not taking any steps that would go against their obligations.
“We have never denied the fact that we sent additional troops to the border (with Ukraine) just as the Ukrainian government redeployed its troops closer to our border. Our troops are conducting exercises on the territory of our own country. Such exercises are conducted regularly since Sergei Shoigu was appointed defence minister,” Lavrov said.
“However, if we are attacked, we will respond by all means. If our legitimate interests and the interests of Russian people are directly affected, as was the case in South Ossetia, I see no way to respond other than doping so in full compliance with international law. Those who threaten the security of Russian citizens jeopardise the security of the whole country,” Lavrov said.
He stressed the fact that Russian troops were staying on the territory of Russia. “Demands for inspections under the so-called Vienna Document of 2011 and the Treaty on Open Skies were satisfied. Inspectors from the United States, the European Union and Ukraine visited Russian troops’ bases and could not cite even one fact that would signify dangerous military activities on the part of Russia,” the minister said.
“We are on our own territory and are not taking any actions that would go against our obligations,” he said. “Ukrainian troops are also staying on their territory, but the difference is that they have an order allowing them to use weapons against peaceful citizens. This is a criminal order.