While Russia denies its role as an aggressor in the Donbas conflict and pretends to be a mediator in the peace process, there are no prospects for constructive negotiations and the return of peace to eastern Ukraine, according to Sergiy Kyslytsya, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations.
He made such a statement during the UN General Assembly debate on the Ukraine-initiated agenda item "Situation in the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine" held on Tuesday, February 23.
Opening the debate, the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir expressed support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders and stressed the responsibility to refrain from the threat of use of force against any state.
In their statements, the vast majority of the UN Member States condemned Russia’s temporary occupation of Crimea, its violations of the Budapest Memorandum and the international law, called on the Russian side to abide by the Minsk Agreements.
Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN Sergiy Kyslytsya informed about the consequences of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine for the humanitarian, economic and environmental situation in the temporarily occupied territories.
"It is crucial to constantly remind Moscow of its obligations as a party to the conflict. Until Russia denies its role in the conflict, the prospects of peaceful resolution will remain elusive," Kyslytsya said.
In this regard, he said that statements by Russian officials about Moscow's alleged "mediation" role in the Donbas peace process were outrageous.
"Russia has not been and cannot, in principle, be a mediator in the conflict it has started and continues to take part in since the first day of aggression," he said.
The Ukrainian envoy also noted that Russia should not be allowed to use its veto power at UN Security Council meetings, because Russia is not even mentioned in Article 23 of the UN Charter on the composition of the Council.
The diplomat recalled that according to the latest UN data, as a result of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine, more than 13,000 people have died, including more than 3,000 civilians, tens of thousands have been injured, and about 1.5 million have become internally displaced persons.
"Security remains the crucial element of the de-escalation. Until a 400-km section of the state border in the conflict zone remains open for a free flow of Russian weaponry and personnel, the situation will remain tense and fragile," Kyslytsya said.
In this context, he reiterated the need to introduce a UN peacekeeping mission in Ukraine. "Sovereign control of Ukraine over its state border should be renewed and UN Peacekeepers, as one of the options, could play an important role in its monitoring," he said.
Kyslytsya also said that joint efforts could help not only restore Ukraine's territorial integrity, but also strengthen the authority of international law, and return peace and stability to the European continent.