Thank you, Madam President. In response to my Russian colleague’s comments, I’d just like to make a couple points. First, I’d like to address his point about to the legitimacy of President Yanukovych, and his point about the February 21 agreement, which he has made several times.
To be clear, we commend the work done by France, Germany, and Poland to mediate and to negotiate that agreement with Russia very much in observance, and we would have been prepared to support the completion of that agreement. Under its terms, President Yanukovych had 24 hours to sign the first piece of action pursued in the Rada – the changing of the constitution pursuant to the February 21 agreement. Not only did President Yanukovych not sign it, but as my Russian colleague reminds us, he left the city. Indeed, he fled the city; he packed up himself and his family, and he left the seat of the presidency vacant for two days while his country was in crisis. He also left vast evidence of corruption, vast evidence of the amounts that he had stolen from the Ukrainian people, and in that context, with 371 votes, the democratically-elected Rada voted Yanukovych out of office, with his own party turning against him. That’s the history.
But to the present, what we’ve heard today, is – with the exception of one member of the Security Council, the Russian Federation – we have heard overwhelming support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine, and for peaceful dialogue. There are so many options available to Russia to safeguard the rights of ethnic Russians and to address the concerns that have been raised, so many options short of military action. So the very simple questions for Russia today are: Why not support international mediation? Why isn’t that part of your remarks today? Why not support an observer mission? Why not engage directly with the Ukrainian authorities who want to resolve this crisis peacefully? Why not pull back your forces instead of sending more? Why not? When military intervention, in the face of a crisis like this, is the first resort, it is hard to avoid concluding that Russia does not want peace and does not want a diplomatic solution. Why choose military action when the consequences could be devastating? Only someone who fears the truth would be fearful of monitors who are deployed for the specific purpose of identifying and reporting the truth. That is all, Madam President.
- Cross posted from the U.S. Mission to the UN
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