It's not about Russophobia but about Ukraine's territorial integrity

Published: Mon 7 Jan 2019, 8:10 PM

Last updated: Tue 8 Jan 2019, 12:47 PM

This is in reference to the article 'Is Russophobia making the situation in Ukraine and Crimea worse?' (KT, Dec 6) by professor Mousumi Roy.
We respect the author's opinion, but the Embassy of Ukraine would like to outline some facts which we hope will help readers better understand the situation in Ukraine and in the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine).
1. Ukrainians' support for Ukraine independence
In the independence referendum on December 1, 1991, the people of Ukraine expressed widespread support for the Act of Declaration of Independence with more than 90 per cent voting in favour, and 82 per cent of the electorate participating.
2. Revolution of Dignity
In 2013 - 2014, the Revolution of Dignity took place in Ukraine. It was initially caused by the refusal of the then president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych to follow the path of the European Union and sign the Association Agreement, which was expected to include, among other provisions, implementation of reforms, protection of human rights and introduction of a visa-free regime with the EU. The revolution was aimed at eliminating the corruption system and creating opportunities for the country's development and deter anti-people policy of deliberate destruction of the Ukrainian army and abusing the people of Ukraine and its resources.  
The Independence Square eventually became the centre of peaceful resistance. However, then authorities were unwilling to listen to the demands of their own citizens, and on the contrary they began to brutally suppress the nonviolent protests. The regime had embarked upon a violent struggle against its own people, and it eventually lost. Viktor Yanukovych was removed from power and fled to Russia, where he remains to date.
3. Aggression of the Russian Federation
The victory of the Revolution of Dignity countered Kremlin's geopolitical plans. Therefore, since the beginning of the revolution, Russia, under the guise of conducting exercises and ensuring security of the Winter Olympics in Sochi (January-February 2014), formed a powerful grouping of troops near the eastern borders of Ukraine with a total of up to 40,000 military personnel, which then was used to invade Crimea and conduct a military operation in the south-eastern regions of Ukraine.
On February 20, 2014 Russia's planned armed aggression against Ukraine began with the military operation of the Special Forces units and paratroopers of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation who seized the premises of the Parliament and the Council of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (Ukraine). Then there was an increase in the Russian forces in southern Russia and in Crimea. The plain-clothed Marines of the Black Sea Fleet, together with the special units of Russia, blocked and seized the main administrative buildings on the Crimean peninsula, and all Ukrainian military units of Crimea were blocked by Russian troops. On March 16, 2018, a so-called 'referendum' was held in Crimea under the control of armed Russian troops, which resulted in the announcement that 97 per cent of its participants 'voted' to join Russia. That was a blatant lie. Most of the 300,000 Crimean Tatars and over 700,000 Ukrainians who lived at that time on the Crimean peninsula did not want to join Russia. It is obvious that the Russian Federation needs the Crimean peninsula as a powerful military base for domination in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov region to counter the US and Nato measures on the eastern flank of the Alliance. Also, the peninsula would be helpful to Russia in for the expansion of its military presence in the Mediterranean and, in particular, in Syria.
The aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine is not confined to the seizure of Crimea. In March 2014, Kremlin-backed groups, supported by Russian intelligence services, began street rallies in the Donbass and in some other eastern regions of Ukraine shouting pro-Russian slogans. In May 2014, separatists held fake referendums on the "independence" of the so-called "Lugansk People's Republic" (LNR) and "Donetsk People's Republic" (DNR). As a result of the direct and indirect use of force by illegal Russian and pro-Russian armed formations, 10,000 Ukrainians died, more than 20,000 were injured, almost 1.8 million people were displaced, a large number of infrastructure and residential buildings was also destroyed, and many state and private properties were plundered. In response to the aggressive actions of the Russian Federation, Ukraine launched the Joint Forces Operation, which continues to this day.
4. Russian aggression in the Kerch Strait
On November 25, 2018, in the Kerch Strait, a group of Ukrainian naval vessels was attacked by the Russian Navy and Coast Guard forces of the Russian Federation. Three Ukrainian ships with 24 Ukrainian sailors aboard were seized in the international waters. They are currently in Russian captivity. Ukraine demands their immediate release and safe return.
5. International response to Russia's aggressive actions
The actions of the Russian Federation, starting from 2014, in particular occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea by the Russian Federation, were condemned by the world community.
On March 27, 2014, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted resolution 68/262 - "Territorial integrity of Ukraine", which affirms the support of the United Nations General Assembly for the territorial integrity of Ukraine at its internationally recognised borders and invalidates the "Crimean referendum of 2014". The resolution was supported by 100 UN member states (only 11 nations voted against the resolution).
On December 19, 2016, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted resolution 71/205 "Situation of Human Rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine)" on human rights violations in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea occupied by Russia. The following year, the UN General Assembly adopted an updated resolution "Situation in the sphere of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine)" initiated by the Ukrainian delegation, which called on the Russian Federation to stop the violation of human rights in the Crimea. On November 15, 2018, the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly adopted an updated draft resolution "Situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine)", which strongly condemns the actions of Russian occupants in the ARC and demands the release of political prisoners. The Resolution was adopted by UNGA on December 22, 2018.
On December 17, 2018 the UNGA adopted a resolution voicing "grave concern over the progressive militarisation of Crimea" as well as "over reports of the continuing destabilisation of Crimea owing to transfers by the Russian Federation of weapon systems, including nuclear-capable aircraft and missiles, weapons, ammunition and military personnel to the territory of Ukraine."
The document expressed concern over "multiple military exercises of Russian armed forces held in Crimea", the building of the Kerch Strait bridge between Russia and the Crimean peninsula, militarisation of parts of the Black Sea surrounding Crimea and the Sea of Azov by Russia adding that these actions "pose further threats to Ukraine and undermine the stability of the broader region."
The international community's sanctions against Russia, which were imposed in 2014, became an integral part of the world's response to the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine. They were introduced by 41 countries, in fact by Ukraine, as well as by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The sanctions aim to put an end to Russia's aggression against Ukraine, withdrawal of funding, armament and supply of terrorists by Russia to the east of Ukraine.
It is not about Russophobia in Ukraine, but about an adequate reaction to the aggressive actions of the current leadership of Russia.
- Embassy of Ukraine in the UAE

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