The U.S. voiced support for Ukraine’s Crimean Platform initiative and called on UN partner states to join the effort to protest Russia’s brutal occupation.
Political coordinator of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations Rodney Hunter made the relevant statement at a meeting of the UN Security Council on Thursday, February 11.
"We welcome Ukraine’s Crimean Platform initiative, and hope like-minded partners will consider joining this diplomatic effort to push back on Russia’s aggression and make clear that the international community will not tolerate Russia’s brutal occupation," Hunter said.
He reiterated that the United States continues to condemn the human rights abuses taking place under Russia’s repressive occupation.
"We urge Russia to release the more than 100 Ukrainian political prisoners it is holding, and to end its campaign of intimidation against Crimean Tatars and opponents of their occupation," the American envoy stressed.
The representative also emphasised concern over the restrictions continually imposed by Russia and its proxies on the access of humanitarian workers and OSCE Special Monitoring Mission personnel, particularly in the current pandemic situation.
"This is especially troubling as it comes at a time when vulnerable conflict-affected populations face even greater threats to their lives and livelihoods due to COVID-19. Russia and its proxies have used the guise of 'COVID-19 mitigation measures' to further limit the life-saving operations of humanitarian actors, contrary to humanitarian principles and the OSCE’s mandate in Ukraine," he noted.
Mr Hunter further called on Russia to grant and facilitate safe, timely, and unhindered access to all humanitarian personnel and OSCE and UN monitors throughout the Ukrainian territory that Russia controls, including parts of Donetsk, Luhansk, and occupied Crimea.
He added that U.S. sanctions on Russia in response to its aggression in eastern Ukraine and occupation of Crimea would remain in place until Russia reverses course.
The Crimean Platform is a new consultative and coordination format initiated by Ukraine to improve the international response to the occupation of Crimea and growing security challenges.
The Platform aims to increase international pressure on Russia, prevent further human rights violations, protect victims of the occupation regime, and achieve the goal of de-occupation of Crimea and its return to Ukraine.
The Crimean Platform will operate at several levels: The first is the highest political level, which will be joined by foreign heads of state and government. The second is the level of heads of foreign policy departments and defence ministers; the third is the inter-parliamentary level; the fourth is the level of non-governmental experts.
The activities of the Crimean Platform will be officially launched at the inaugural summit which is planned to be held in Kyiv on August 23, 2021.