Bloomberg News Interview Of Russian FM Sergei Lavrov.

Posted May 17, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

Bloomberg News recently interviewed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the situation in Ukraine. Being a person who does not see the world through the viewpoint of any “side” – there is only one side and that is humanity – it is beneficial for  increased understanding to hear from all persons involved in situations like that which is occurring in Ukraine. During United Nations Security Council meetings recently all members have strongly suggested diplomatic solutions through dialogue. This interview is dialogue, and talks are exactly what is necessary between all people, in all regions, of Ukraine to resolve any differences.

Some of the interview that stood out were Mr. Lavrov’s emphasis on all parties’ returning to the April 17 Geneva Agreement, where Ukraine, Russia, United States, and European Union officials agreed to stop all violence until a way forward was found which satisfied all Ukrainians from all regions. He pointed out that there could be no genuine communication through mortars, gunfire, bombs, or painting helicopters so they’d be falsely recognized as United Nations helicopters. The United Nations condemned those actions of Kiev authorities’ disguising helicopters.

Sergei Lavrov believes the present crisis began in 2008, at a North Atlantic Treaty Organization meeting where the aim became spoken that Georgia and Ukraine should become part of the military alliance. The young interviewer asked Mr. Lavrov about Crimea, which Nikita Khrushchov turned over to Ukraine in 1964, although the action occurred in 1954. Lavrov noted that not one shot was fired in Crimea when the people there voted to leave Ukraine and join Russia.

After Crimea seceded, Lavrov talked about his government’s consistent efforts to bring about a national Ukrainian dialogue, including decentralization of power, a federalized political system, amendments to the constitution, presidential elections, and all issues and concerns being met in a way that satisfies all regions. The reforms resulting in a new Ukrainian model would be guaranteed by all stakeholders, but that these efforts were met with no response.

Lavrov said that the western goal is to legitimize the – what Lavrov described as – illegitimate, illegal regime that came to power in Kiev through violence.

He shares his experience of western officials telling him that Russians were taken into custody for crossing the Russia/Ukraine border to take part in violence. Lavrov tells the interviewer that he has requested many times that the evidence become produced – whether documents, identification cards, photos, or any evidence – but that he has never been presented with one piece of evidence.

He pointed out that officials from various regional nations have been given suggestions to stay out of meetings with their Russian counterparts, and that Lavrov’s requests to western leaders to appear on the media together have all been turned down. He said that he has heard many suggestions that Russians must do this, Russians must do that. He finds it hard to understand when, after doing what had been suggested, the response then would come that “Russia must change.” He expresses incredulity when describing how his questions about “what type of change would you like” have gone unanswered.

So, Sergei Lavrov in this interview says that something is missing in the negotiations between himself as a representative of Russia, and Ukraine, European Union, and American colleagues. He notes that Vladimir Putin called for postponement of referendums in eastern and southern Ukraine, and that if presidential elections don’t happen on May 25 – for any reason – Russians were told they would be to blame.

Perhaps at his most insightful moment during the interview, Lavrov talked about many people already starting to experience fatigue over the Ukrainian situation. He attributes this fatigue to “this absolutely useless, childish exercise, to turn a very serious crisis into something which does not have anything to do with the future of Ukraine, but has to do with how people are perceived by their own electorate, how they’re perceived by those who try to dictate the politics from Washington. This fatigue is felt very much.”

As the talk winds down he spoke about Ukrainians in the east and south having no wish to be labeled/called “pro-Russian”, “pro-American” or anything else but Ukrainians.

Sergei Lavrov ended the interview with Bloomberg News by saying, “We don’t have any intention of sending any troops anywhere.”

Lavrov’s talk on “fatigue” probably reflects the feelings of many men and women who are, and have been, concerned about the people of Ukraine. I hope to God that, because the Ukraine events have become so extensively reported, this situation may signal the end to war and the need for men and women to either prevent or stop conflict. As mentioned at the top of this post, there is only one “side”, humanity, on this Earth. Ukraine, and every conflict situation in history, represent the worst symptoms of a disease that becomes cured with increased understanding through genuine, constructive talks focused on creating the best conditions for the greatest number of men, women, and children.

Yes, people around the world have grown weary and fatigued from the wars, destruction, and pain innocent people – who just want to live normal, peaceful, and happy lives – come to experience because leaders fail to understand love must be the basis of all decisions.

The Walker

“For infinite are the nine steps of a prison cell, and endless is the march of him who walks between the yellow brick wall and the red iron gate, thinking things that cannot be chained and cannot be locked, but that wander far away in the sunlit world, each in a wild pilgrimage after a destined goal.

Wonderful is the supreme wisdom of the jail that makes all think the same thought. Marvellous is the providence of the law that equalizes all, ever in mind and sentiment.

I, who have never killed, think like the murderer!

I, who have never stolen, reason like the thief!

I think, reason, wish, hope, doubt, wait like the hired assassin, the embezzler, the forger, the counterfeiter, the incestuous, the raper, the drunkard, the prostitute, the pimp, I, I who used to think of love and life and flowers and song and beauty and the ideal.”

– Arturo Giovannitti (1884-1959) Italian-born American poet 

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Army Veteran Lawrence Wilkerson On Ukraine: “This Has Got To Stop.”

Posted May 7, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

“The only thing that we can know is that we know nothing and that is the highest flight of human wisdom.”

– LEO TOLSTOY (1828-1910) Russian writer

smoky mt-1Lawrence Wilkerson appeared on RT America for a short interview recently, and he brought some good ideas for resolving the tense situation in Ukraine. This interview was posted on May 2, the day of the “Odessa Massacre”, so Mr. Wilkerson’s appearance was just before that very tragic event occurred.

He joins many millions of men and women from all nations and regions of the Earth in calling for wise, reasoned, and dialogue-driven resolution to the crisis. While many millions are acting and speaking out for peace, billions who have yet to take steps for peace feel exactly the same. On this issue of war and peace in Ukraine – and all the world – humanity has completed its referendum.

Humanity has passed the referendum and is calling for peace.

—-

English poet William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

“The Prelude” (partial)

Dust as we are, the immortal spirit grows

Like harmony in music; there is a dark

Inscrutable workmanship that reconciles

Discordant elements. (Bk. I)

There is

One great society alone on Earth:

The noble living and the noble dead.

Science appears as what in truth she is,

Not as our glory and our absolute boast,

But as a succedaneum, and a prop,

To our infirmity. (Bk. II)

There’s not a man

That lives who hath not known his godlike hours. (Bk. III)

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive.

But to be young was very heaven.

Not in Utopia, – in subterranean fields, –

Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where!

But in the very world, which is the world

Of all of us, – the place where in the end

We find our happiness, or not at all! (Bk. XI)

—-

To the world’s leaders: the human race has stood up and demanded peace. You must get out of the way and let them have it.

Ukraine: Beyond Blame To High Spiritual Truth.

Posted May 3, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

“For fascism is a lie told by bullies. A writer who will not lie cannot live or work under fascism. Because fascism is a lie, it is condemned to literary sterility. And when it is past, it will have no history, except the bloody history of murder.”

– Ernest Hemingway (1898-1961) American writer, Nobel Prize 1954

mountain2It is the “Odessa Massacre.” Massacre means the killing of many. Slaughter. Men and women can move around on the internet while looking for articles on this tragic event, then find a variety of views about who was responsible, next actions, and which “side” is right, which wrong, and so on. What are perhaps the most glaring omissions from writings and comments sharing perceptions about the over 40 men and women who perished by fire in Odessa, and the events leading up to such a horrific human catastrophe, is articulation of total, irrefutable truth.

When human beings reach a point where dozens of people die in an intentional blaze, with those inside the structure prevented from escaping death, the event cannot be described but for what it truly is: a tragedy. For what is needed now in Ukraine is a genuine truth and reconciliation effort. By genuine, this means 100% and absolutely honest, a real confession of all the dirty secrets surrounding events in Ukraine over the last months resulting in today’s unfortunate situation.

This means that any slanting, spinning, propaganda, blame games, information wars, and so on are over and done. Too many innocent men, women, and children are at risk; too many in the region and around the Earth are greatly worried and concerned about where these events are taking the human race – there is no other choice available to bring about a mutually agreed upon, peaceful plan for Ukraine moving forward than bringing into clear view the absolute truth.

This means that nothing – nothing – shall be censored, suppressed, or denied to allow any Ukrainian person’s awareness and wish to bring forward truth and peaceful solutions. This is by no means an original idea, for history finds many periods with the same truth and reconciliation efforts. It is painfully obvious that there are many people in Ukraine who have strong feelings about the recent events shaping the present situation there, so let these people’s voices be heard, learn from what they are honestly saying, separate wisdom from folly, and you are left with good and worthy solutions.

This is how, during periods of conflicting perceptions and actions, that true understanding becomes developed. True facts – not manipulative lies – come forth, allowing the only opportunity for true solutions to become known by all; in the awareness of all people. So, here is what the world’s leaders urgently need to start proposing, whether it takes 8, 10, 12, or 16 hours a day for weeks. What will happen is that, once the entire truth becomes distilled, when the wheat becomes separated from the chaff, what will remain is a true appraisal of the events starting in November 2013 and proceeding until May 2014 in their broadest/clearly visible good, bad, and ugly reality.

Because absolute truth identifies the motivations of those who have contributed by their actions to the present circumstances, it shall be plain to see whose actions were moral, just, and ethical – and whose were the opposite. Absolute truth zeroes in on those who act – and have acted – deceptively, dishonorably, absent wisdom through ignorance of one’s moral compass, and without altruism’s guidance.

At this point in the process, all people acknowledge who is honorable and who is not. Those who are without honor because of their actions thus must face the penalties and consequences, including loss of trust and respect from their fellow countrymen and women, incarceration, and a long, difficult journey to recover both self-respect and the respect of humanity.

All will know then who are the lovers of their fellow-men, women, and children; all will know who are not. And those who are not will perhaps come to recognize that they were mistaken. And choose again.

This is the way out from the danger at the edge of the abyss. To choose love, not hate; to understand that every human being is each other’s brother and sister, and that all have the God-given right to live their lives free from harm – in peace.

This is the way of the Buddha:

“This is the noble Eightfold way: namely, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This is the Middle Path, which produces insight and knowledge, and tends to calm, to higher knowledge, enlightenment, Nirvana.”

In Ukraine and the world, choose higher knowledge, enlightenment, and Nirvana.

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United Nations Security Council Summary / May 2, 2014

Posted May 2, 2014

Summary of statements from United Nations Security Council emergency meeting held May 2, 2014.

Diplomatic Solution Only Way Out, as Situation in Ukraine Deteriorates,

 

Under-Secretary-General Tells Security Council

 

The situation in parts of eastern and southern Ukraine had seen “further severe deterioration”, with fresh events — including the downing of two helicopters — threatening to destabilize the country and the region, the Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs told the Security Council today.

Jeffrey Feltman, briefing the Council three days after his most recent update, said that in more than a dozen cities in Donetsk Oblast and Luhansk, armed groups had taken over a growing number of buildings.  The situation in the eastern city of Slovyansk, occupied by armed insurgents since 12 April, was of most immediate concern.

According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence, he said, two helicopters had been shot down overnight during operations by the authorities, with at least one pilot killed.  Other casualties had been reported on both sides.  In Donetsk Oblast and in the city itself, self-declared separatists had seized the regional prosecutor’s office on 1 May.  Other reports cited clashes during a pro-unity protest in the southern city of Odessa.

He understood that the President of the Russian Federation had dispatched a special envoy to help free the seven military monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and accompanying Ukrainian staff being held by gunmen in Slovyansk.  A diplomatic solution was the only way out of the crisis and all sides must redouble efforts to revive the spirit of compromise shown during the 17 April Geneva talks.

The representative of the Russian Federation said he had called today’s meeting because of the punitive operations being conducted in south-east Ukraine by the Kyiv Government, which was using military helicopters, striking at protestors and entrenching fighters.  Unless its criminal misadventures were stopped, dire consequences would be unavoidable.  Ukraine’s measures against its own people showed it had no desire to comply with the Geneva Statement.

While the Russian Federation was making efforts to de-escalate the crisis, Ukraine had started full-scale use of military force, annihilating any hope of agreement, he said.  Urging an end to outside interference in Ukraine’s affairs, he said that by supporting those who had perpetrated a coup d’état in Kyiv, the United States and the European Union were destroying the path to a peaceful solution.

The representative of Ukraine said his country was committed to implementing the Geneva Statement, noting that free and fair presidential elections on 25 May were a top priority.  The Russian Federation had made no effort to implement the Geneva accords.  Instead, it supported illegal militants in eastern Ukraine and had created an atmosphere of violence.

He said the counter-terrorist operation, renewed in Slovyansk, sought to isolate militants from civilians in the city.  Illegal militants were using heavy weapons against Ukrainian Special Forces, having shot down two helicopters and used the local population as shields.  Earlier today, Russian saboteurs had attempted to cross the border.  He urged the Russian Federation to stop supporting illegal militants.  Russian claims of English-speaking foreigner involvement were “cynical” and “false”, as only Russian saboteurs and mercenaries were involved.

Also speaking in today’s debate were the representatives of France, United Kingdom, United States, Luxembourg, Argentina, Australia, China, Chad, Lithuania, Nigeria, Jordan, Chile, Rwanda and the Republic of Korea.

The meeting began at 12:03 p.m. and ended at 1:50 p.m.

Background

Meeting this afternoon to consider the situation in Ukraine, members of the Security Council had before them a letter from the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation (document S/2014/264) addressed to the Council President.  Dated 13 April, it requests a meeting to consider “alarming” developments in Ukraine.

Briefing

JEFFREY FELTMAN, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said that since the Council’s last meeting on 29 April, there had been a further, severe deterioration of the situation in parts of eastern and southern Ukraine.  Recent developments in those areas threatened a serious further destabilization of the country and the region, as well as Ukraine’s unity.  In more than a dozen cities in Donetsk Oblast and Luhansk, an increasing number of buildings were being taken over by armed groups, he said, emphasizing that the situation in the eastern city of Slovyansk, occupied by armed insurgents since 12 April, was of most immediate concern.

According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence, he continued, two helicopters had been shot down overnight during ongoing operations by the authorities, with at least one pilot killed.  A number of other casualties had been reported on both sides, but the total could not be verified.  The acting Interior Minister had stated that a number of roadblocks had been removed from around the city, but it was understood from the media that tense standoffs continued, at least in parts of the city and around it.

At the same time, he continued, the seven military monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) accompanying Ukrainian military staff and held by gunmen in Slovyansk remained in detention amid repeated calls for their release.  To that end, it was understood that the President of the Russian Federation had dispatched a special envoy to help free the hostages, he said, reiterating the Secretary-General’s call to those responsible to release them immediately, unconditionally and unharmed.

The crisis had also escalated in the Donetsk Oblast region and in Donetsk itself, where self-declared separatists had seized the regional prosecutor’s office on 1 May, he said.  Other reports stated that the Ukrainian authorities had banned Russian passenger planes from flying to Donetsk and Kharkiv, while still others reported clashes during a pro-unity demonstration in the southern city of Odessa.  Reiterating elements of the Secretary-General’s statement today, in which he expressed his grave concern over the situation, he said the escalating violence and reported further loss of life in Slovyansk were a stark reminder of how dangerous the situation had become.  A diplomatic solution was the only way out of the crisis and all sides must redouble efforts to revive the spirit of compromise demonstrated during the 17 April Geneva talks, Mr. Feltman stressed, adding that during his meetings in Kyiv and Moscow next week, he would continue to reiterate a message of restraint and an immediate return to dialogue.

Statements

VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said he had called for today’s meeting because of the resumed punitive operations being conducted in south-east Ukraine by the Kyiv Government, which was using military helicopters, striking at protestors and entrenching fighters, leading to casualties.  Unless the criminal misadventures of the Kyiv clique were stopped, dire consequences would be unavoidable, he warned, adding that the Ukrainian Government’s criminal measures against its own people showed that it had no desire to comply with the 17 April Joint Geneva Statement.  It was now clear that the Kyiv Government’s many declarations in favour of dialogue were nothing less than hypocrisy.

At a time when the Russian Federation was making efforts to de-escalate the crisis, Ukraine had started full-scale use of military force, annihilating any hope of agreement, he continued.  On the radio waves, one could hear English-speaking foreigners among those carrying out assaults in Slovyansk.  Calling for an end to outside interference in Ukraine’s affairs, he urged the United States to end its double standards, adding that by supporting those who had perpetrated a coup d’état in Kyiv, that country and the European Union were in effect destroying the path to a peaceful solution.  He called upon signatories to the Geneva Statement not to commit a fatal error, and on the West to stop its destructive policy concerning Ukraine and halt its operations there.  An authentic political dialogue was needed, he emphasized.

GÉRARD ARAUD (France) said that the armed groups involved in progressively taking over cities in eastern Ukraine were being manipulated by Russian forces and refusing to implement the Geneva Statement.  Ukraine, which had shown great restraint all along, had now decided to use its army and police against armed groups creating a climate of insecurity, he said, emphasizing that the latter were not spontaneous local demonstrators, who would be incapable of shooting down a helicopter with surface-to-air missiles.  The Russian Federation had invoked the 21 February agreement, which it had not endorsed, while waiving the Geneva Agreement, to which it had consented but had made no effort to implement.  He described as “comical” the Russian Federation’s accusation blaming the European Union for the violence, emphasizing that the Russian Federation had opened a Pandora’s box and unleashed the demon of nationalism.  “We have a pyromaniac situation,” he said, stressing that the Russian Federation must disarm the groups that it had armed, free the OSCE monitors and negotiate with Ukraine.

MARK LYALL GRANT (United Kingdom) said the Russian Federation’s description of events in Ukraine as a punitive military operation against activists was a gross distortion of facts.  Ukraine had a duty to uphold the rule of law and to protect its territory, and should carry it out in a proportionate, measured way, he emphasized.  Its actions in and around Slovyansk were meant to relieve that city from armed groups sponsored by the Russian Federation who were terrorizing the population.  No Council member would allow its towns to be overrun by armed militants, he pointed out, stressing that the Russian Federation’s claims about “peaceful activists” were not credible given the use of sophisticated weapons against Ukrainian forces, including by professionals funded and equipped by the Russian Federation.  He urged the Russian Federation to refrain from inflammatory propaganda, throw its full weight behind the 17 April accord and rein in the armed groups that it supported.

SAMANTHA POWER (United States) described as false the Russian Federation’s claims that Ukraine was carrying out a large-scale attack on unarmed civilians, emphasizing that the latter’s actions were intended to contain Russian paramilitaries and protect Ukrainian citizens.  Russian-directed agents and paramilitaries were the source of the violence, she stressed.  Another falsehood was that the Russian Federation was concerned about instability in the east, while it was itself behind the instability.  With Russian troops massing along its border, Ukraine had shown “remarkable, almost unimaginable” restraint, implementing international agreements, refraining from military responses to aggression and committing to direct dialogue with Moscow.  Ukraine’s efforts to reclaim its cities were the same as any country would have made in the face of threats, she said, adding that 32 buildings in 17 eastern Ukraine towns were occupied by pro-Russian separatists.  The Council had heard the Russian Federation build its case for outright intervention, but there was no evidence that Ukraine had threatened the Russian Federation in any way, she said.  Ukraine’s steps to restore order were justified, but the fact that the Russian Federation had chosen to call an emergency Council meeting was another sign that it was trying to replicate the Crimea charade, she said, urging the latter to pull back its troops, stop its campaign of instability, and work to release international observers and journalists.

SYLVIE LUCAS (Luxembourg) expressed concern over the actions of pro-Russian, militant separatists intent on destabilizing Ukraine and preventing it from holding elections on 25 May.  Confronted with violations against its sovereignty, Ukrainian authorities had shown restraint.  Until Thursday, their response to the illegal seizure of public offices and the growing number of attacks and violence by armed groups against peaceful protests had been moderate.  The presence of impartial United Nations and OSCE monitors across Ukraine was vital to establish the facts and put an end to bellicose propaganda.  She condemned the taking of OSCE monitors as hostages and called on the pro-separatists to free them as soon as possible.

MARÍA CRISTINA PERCEVAL (Argentina) said that the spirit of compromise reached in Geneva must be restored.  Hate speech and incitement to violence had only lead to rising tensions, undermining the international community’s efforts.  All actors must work towards constructive diplomacy so the Geneva Statement could be implemented.  The Council’s calls for a de-escalation of tensions had not been consistent.  “It is not too late.  It is still possible to avoid the worst,” she said, calling on the Council to assume its responsibility to maintain international peace and security.

GARY QUINLAN (Australia) said the planned, coordinated destabilization of Ukraine could not happen without external support, as seen with the downing of two helicopters.  Armed groups had consolidated control in Donetsk and Kharkiv and had orchestrated violence which had spread to Odessa.  The actions of pro-Russian groups were not legitimate protests, but rather calculated, highly provocative actions intended to undermine Ukrainian authority.  They made a mockery of what the Russian Federation had committed to in the Geneva agreement.  The Ukraine Government was implementing its Geneva obligations and was committed to holding public debate on constitutional change.  In response to extreme provocation, Ukrainian authorities had a responsibility to restore public order.  It must take measures to ensure security and protect its citizens in its territory.  “We are at a very dangerous, manipulated moment,” he said, urging the Russian Federation to implement the Geneva Statement and demonstrate it had no further territorial ambitions in Ukraine.

LIU JIEYI (China), stressing that the situation in parts of eastern and southern Ukraine was of deep concern, urged parties to safeguard ethnic groups, keep calm, exercise restraint and avoid a further deterioration of conditions.  A political solution was the only way out of the crisis.  Ukraine must consider the full situation and accommodate the aspirations of various regions and ethnic groups in order to achieve a balance.  Noting his Government’s efforts towards promoting peace and facilitating negotiations, he expressed hope that the parties would pursue dialogue, implement the agreements reached, start a political settlement process and realize the stability of Ukraine.  China would continue to support good offices with the aim of promoting a political settlement.

MAHAMAT ZENE CHERIF (Chad) said that, despite repeated calls for restraint and calm, the situation continued to deteriorate, politically and in terms of security.  There was a risk of a war that carried incalculable consequences.  While a number of efforts had been made to open the way for dialogue, the results had been far from expectations.  Reiterating the call for an immediate halt to combat, he urged non-violence by the authorities and separatists alike, as well as for the release of the seven OSCE observers.  The solution must be political, sought in full respect for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.  Further, countries with influence should use all means possible to help establish direct dialogue.  He also encouraged the Secretary-General to step up efforts to bring about a rapprochement.

RAIMONDA MURMOKAITĖ (Lithuania) said Ukraine could not be blamed for taking steps against those trying to carve it up and parcel it out.  It had a right to protect its sovereignty.  The Russian Federation so far had not condemned the Syrian regime’s missile and bomb attacks this week in Aleppo or similar previous acts.  Today, two Ukrainian helicopters were downed by mobile air defence systems.  Militants, not protestors, had opened fire.  Had the separatists carried out the Geneva Statement or had the Russian Federation called on the separatists to enter into peace talks with the Ukrainian Government, such attacks, and today’s deadly provocations in Odessa, would not be happening.  The Russian Federation continued to blame Ukraine, the only side taking steps to implement the Geneva Statement.  She rejected all Russian attempts to validate its intentions or send Russian “peacekeeping” forces to Ukraine.  She noted that OSCE observers must be able to carry out their tasks.

U. JOY OGWU (Nigeria) expressed concern over the downing of a military helicopter and the seizure of Slovyansk.  All sides must refrain from violence, intimidation and provocative action, and all armed groups must vacate buildings they had seized.  Territorial integrity must be respected.  The alternative would be “falling dominoes” in Eastern Europe and every region of the world.  “The scenario is simply mortifying.  It is our collective responsibility to prevent the domino theory from being replayed in our times,” she said.

MAHMOUD DAIFALLAH MAHMOUD HMOUD (Jordan), expressing deep concern over events in Ukraine, called on all hostages held by rebels in Slovyansk to be released, including OSCE monitors.  An unfolding mutiny in eastern Ukraine, as rebels seized public and Government buildings and threatened civilians, had contravened both international law and the Geneva agreement.  Ukraine had a right to take appropriate measures to retain its unity and sovereignty, as well as uphold the constitutional and legal order.  It must work towards a peaceful resolution of the crisis, within international criteria, sparing no effort to engage in dialogue with all stakeholders.  He urged implementing the Geneva Statement and exerting pressure on the rebels to end the crisis.  Further, all stakeholders should refrain from racist or hate speech, he said, underscoring the importance of respecting Ukrainians’ aspirations, notably by ensuring that elections were held in May.

CRISTIÁN BARROS MELET (Chile), emphasizing that the crisis was quickly entering an unpredictable phase, expressed concern over events in Slovyansk and urged the Council to again call for all means to pursue a peaceful settlement through dialogue.  Parties must refrain from acting unilaterally and must support international mediation efforts, he said, condemning the kidnapping of OSCE observers and reiterating the call for their release.  It was vital to work in a spirit of compromise, he said, urging the disarmament of armed groups and returning illegally occupied buildings.  He reiterated the need to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, supporting both the Secretary-General’s efforts and visit to the Russian Federation by the Under-Secretary-General.

EUGÈNE-RICHARD GASANA (Rwanda) said the situation in Ukraine had escalated.  Pro-separatist forces had continued to occupy buildings and they had shot down helicopters.  OSCE observers had been detained.  He condemned the armed methods used by militants and called for a proportionate response by Ukraine’s armed forces.  He called on all Council members to give the Under-Secretary-General the meaningful backing necessary, and noted that only a genuine dialogue by the Ukrainian parties and a strong commitment by those with influence could resolve the crisis.  Otherwise, the conflict would become regional or worse, and the Council would continue holding emergency meetings on that matter.  “We need here to scale down the rhetoric,” he said.

OH JOON (Republic of Korea) expressed concern over continuing tensions in Ukraine, particularly over the violence in Slovyansk, which had included an attack on a military helicopter.  Dialogue among all parties was the only way to achieve a peaceful solution, and he called on all parties to the Geneva Statement to implement it.  With elections scheduled for May, it was all the more important to ensure an environment conducive to free and fair elections and without any outside interference.  He expressed hope for a transparent, Ukraine-led process.

OLEKSANDR PAVLICHENKO (Ukraine) said his country remained committed to implementing the 17 April Geneva Statement, adding that free and fair presidential elections on 25 May were a top priority.  The Russian Federation had made no effort to de-escalate the situation and implement the Geneva Statement, and had instead supported illegal militants in eastern Ukraine and created an atmosphere of violence.  Security for all Ukrainians was another top priority, and the purpose of the counter-terrorist operation renewed in Slovyansk was to isolate militants from civilians in the city, he said, adding that its commander required the militants to free all hostages and captured administration buildings, and to stop the violence.  Ukrainian authorities were ready to grant amnesty to all militant group members who had not committed serious crimes, he said.  Describing the Russian Federation’s claims that English-speaking foreigners were involved in the crisis as “cynical” and “false”, he said only Russian saboteurs and mercenaries were present.

He went on to note that the Russian Federation’s embassy in Kyiv had not been notified about the arrival of Special Presidential Envoy Vladimir Lukin.  Nonetheless, Ukraine was prepared to discuss with him practical contributions to resolving problems.  Due to the situation in Slovyansk, the National Security and Defence Council had launched a counter-terrorist operation, the active phase of which had been renewed in that city and elsewhere, he said.  The operation had taken control of nine terrorist checkpoints in Slovyansk.  Illegal militants were using heavy weapons against Ukrainian special forces, and had shot down two helicopters with man-portable air defence systems, killing two people and wounding seven others, he said, adding that they had not hesitated to use the local people as shields.  Russian saboteurs had tried to break through the border today but they had been stopped by Ukrainian guards, he said, calling upon the Russian Federation to stop supporting illegal militants and other actions that undermined his country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, including the use of military threat as a form of pressure.

The representative of the Russian Federation took the floor a second time to refute the claim by his counterpart from France that his country had not endorsed the 21 February agreement.  On the contrary, it looked forward to implementing the accord and had helped to conclude the 17 April Geneva Statement, which, while simple, would pave the way out of the crisis.  People in eastern Ukraine merely wanted their rights guaranteed, he said.  Since the signing of the Geneva Statement, no one had taken up weapons, but there had never been a reasonable response from Kyiv.  The Council had heard that on 25 May Ukrainian officials would unveil some sort of decentralization process, he said, noting that his Western colleagues seemed to know about all the operations currently being carried out by the Kyiv Government.  He asked why the United States did not want OSCE efforts for dialogue, pointing out that the Russian Federation had suggested different formats for dialogue on several occasions during the course of the crisis, and suggested convening a constitutional assembly, while they had said they were not ready to organize such forums.  He also denied claims that his country was refusing to implement the Geneva Statement.

The representative of the United States also took the floor again, saying that for the Russian Federation to blame Ukraine for defending its own actions on Ukrainian territory was like the story of the boy who told his mother that a fight between him and another boy had started when the other had hit him back.  “We must be clear about cause and effect here,” she emphasized.  It was not true that the United States had never called on the Maidan protestors to leave buildings and renounce violence, and that it was exercising double standards.  On 10 January, it had condemned the actions of rioters outside Government buildings, and later that month it had condemned targeted attacks against journalists and called on all protestors to refrain from violence and destruction of property.  Those were among the many public statements by the United States Government aimed at ending the fighting.  The future was more important, she said, asking whether the Russian Federation would publicly urge the separatists to end their siege of public buildings.  It had repeatedly taken aim at the so-called illegitimate Government in Kyiv while refusing to acknowledge its failure to embrace the 21 February agreement after it had been negotiated.  Furthermore, the Russian Federation would not come out in support of the 25 May elections, she said, stressing that doing so would be best way to ensure that rights were more autonomous in eastern Ukraine.

The representative of the Russian Federation, responding to a question by the Council President about a possible presidential statement from today’s meeting, first addressed comments made by his United States counterpart.  He said that what had been heard from the United States, and the way that message had been delivered, showed everyone that it approved of the forceful change of power in Ukraine, which, in the end, did not serve Ukrainian interests.  As for a presidential statement, he said it would be good to end today’s meeting with a statement calling for a swift end to violence and serious implementation of the Geneva Statement.

OH JOON (Republic of Korea), Council President, said he would ask the coordinators to take up the matter.

OH JOON adjourned the meeting.

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