Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba took part in the United Nations Security Council Arria-formula high-level meeting "Crimea: 7 years of violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity".
Dmytro Kuleba expressed gratitude to Estonia as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for organizing the event, as well as to all co-sponsors. He noted that the number of event participants has significantly grown since last year, while their geography expanded, saying these are clear signs of growing global attention to the problem of Russia's occupation of Crimea.
Dmytro Kuleba reminded that at the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014 the UN’s response had not been strong enough to discourage Russia from further aggression.
"Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine has caused a major crisis in international politics and undermined the authority of international organizations. It is high time that we increase the effectiveness of our joint efforts to achieve the de-occupation of Crimea", he stressed.
Minister reminded that Ukraine currently establishes the Crimea Platform and invited all UN member states to join the initiative: "This international mechanism provides a long-term strategic vision for de-occupation of Crimea and consolidates all international efforts at intergovernmental, parliamentary and expert levels."
Dmytro Kuleba outlined Russia's ongoing violations of international humanitarian law and large-scale human rights violations in Crimea, including changing the demographic structure of the peninsula. Participants also discussed Russia's ongoing large-scale militarization of Crimea and the wider region of the Black and Azov Seas, as well as further human rights violations, deteriorating economic and environmental situation on the Crimean peninsula.
"Seven years later, the Russian military presence on the peninsula has more than doubled", Dmytro Kuleba informed.
Participants unanimously condemned Russia's occupation of Crimea, its gross violations of international law, and stressed that Russia's attempts to legitimize the annexation will not succeed.
The event was attended by Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights and Head of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in New York Ms. Ilze Brands Kehris, President of the Potomac Foundation Dr. Phillip Karber, Coordinator of Media Initiative for Human Rights Ms. Maria Tomak and a civic journalist from Crimea Nariman Memedeminov.
The meeting was convened by members of the UN Security Council Great Britain, Estonia, Ireland, Norway, the United States, and France, co-sponsored by Ukraine, Australia, Belgium, Honduras, Greece, Georgia, Italy, Canada, Costa Rica, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Turkey, Germany and the Czech Republic, and other UN member states from around the world.
Last year, the event was co-sponsored by 7 countries, while this year their number has grown to 23. This indicates growing international support for Ukraine’s efforts to de-occupy Crimea, as well as successful work of the Ukrainian diplomacy, including Ukraine's Permanent Mission to the UN.