by H.E. Mr. Yuriy Sergeyev
Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations
at the General Assembly Plenary Meeting on fourth review of the implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy
(New York, 12-13 June, 2014)
Excellences, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
While Ukraine aligns itself with the statement by the European Union, we find it pertinent to make a statement from our national prospective.
The fourth review of the implementation of the UN Global Counterterrorism Strategy in 2014 is an important step forward.
Ukrainefully supports the UN's key role in the prevention and fight against terrorism and notes with appreciation the activities undertaken in the area of capacity-building by United Nations entities, including the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, in coordination with other relevant international, regional and subregional organizations to assist Member States, upon their request, in implementing the Strategy.
Ukraine appreciates the UN Counter-Terrorism Strategy as a global counterterrorism framework, which includes not only law enforcement and other security measures, but also measures to ensure respect for human rights and to address underlying conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism.
Ukraine notes with appreciation the relevancy and modernity of the Fourth Review of the Global Counterterrorism Strategy, which in light of the emerging threats and evolving trends of the international terrorism is crucial for awareness raising and preparedness of Member States to tackle these new forms of terror.
We share concerns of the Member States at the increase in incidents of kidnapping and hostage-taking with the aim of raising funds, as well as at direct engagement of foreign fighters and mercenaries in terrorist activity on the territory of certain Member States.
The issue of use of mass-media by terrorists and their supporters, as well as new information and communications technologies to commit, incite, recruit for, fund, or plan terrorist acts must be appropriately addressed by competent authorities of Member States. The Member States themselves should clearly understand their direct commitment and responsibility for undertaking all necessary measures to ensure that media, TV and satellite channels broadcasting from their territories are not used for the mentioned purposes of terrorism, spreading disinformation, destructive extremist ideas and ideology that raise tensions and fuel conflicts.
Regretfully the issue of international terrorism has become very relevant to my country, Ukraine.
Since April 13, 2014 there has been ongoing counter-terrorism operation in Ukraine, targeted against heavily-armed militants terrorizing Donetsk and Lugansk regions. The main purpose of the Operation is to protect people and avoid casualties among civil population.
Today in the eastern regions of Ukraine our law enforcement agencies are opposed by well trained and heavily armed foreign mercenaries, terrorists and criminals, who are taking hostages, killing and torturing people, threatening the territorial integrity and stability of Ukraine with weapons in their hands.
There is a significant grow of criminal activity in these two regions. Taking an advantage of the hostilities and with a feeling of impunity, criminals commit lootings, thefts, assaults and robberies, causing fear among local population.
The terrorists’ objectives are to gain political and territorial concessions, seek to overthrow the constitutional system of Ukraine and violation of territorial integrity!
The Government of Ukraine has given a clear legal treatment of these armed groups’ activity on our land, officially recognizing so called “People’s Republics” in Donetsk and Lugansk regions as terrorist organizations, which are having rigid hierarchy, channels of financing and arms delivery support with the purpose of deliberating violence, seizing hostages, carrying out subversive activity, assassinations and the intimidation of citizens.
I would like to mention some examples of terrorists’ activity in Ukraine which clearly illustrates what is actually going on in Ukraine at the moment. I believe that these examples will leave no doubts of the terroristic nature of the activity of the armed groups, which are operating in Ukraine.
This is quite new phenomenon in the area of international terrorism, which we are experiencing in our state these days. It has to be mentioned that such phenomenon is only possible when your bordering neighbor state does not do anything to prevent such terrorist activity!
During May only, the groups of unidentified armed people in military uniform by trucks vehicles have made four attempts of massive break through the state border of Ukraine in Luhansk and Donetsk regions from the territory of Russian Federation, covering their attempts with heavy gunfire against Ukrainian border guards.
All these entries occurred while Russian border guards did absolutely nothing to prevent such movements across the border from their side, I repeat - absolutely nothing!
Training and recruitment of terrorists
At the end of last month the Governmental forces have eliminated the terrorist training camp, located in Lugansk region a couple of hundred meters away from the border with the RF. That was a main training center, where hundreds of militants were inducted and coordinated for their further terrorist activity in the region.
A large military terrorist training base has been also located near Rostov-on-Don city (Russian Federation), where terrorists are trained and prepared for being sent to the territory of Ukraine. This information is confirmed not only by Ukrainian intelligence data, but also by the testimonies of terrorists, detained in Ukraine.
Use of mass-media for disinformation of the population that fueling their radicalization and dissatisfaction with the state authorities and create fertile ground for spread of terrorism has become a real issue in Ukraine.
An open lie is broadcasted through the state TV Channels of the Russian Federation, misinforming the Russian-speaking population of the globe, bringing false accusations against our Government and Ukrainian citizens and creating hysteria about our so-called “national radicalization”, which is in the rest of the world called “Patriotism”.
A number of ordinary Ukrainians, who happened to be not agreeing with the views of the terrorist groups in Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine, are now taken hostages. In total there were abducted more than 230 individuals in Ukraine, including three shocking cases of the abduction of the OSCE observers in Donetsk and Lugansk regions. For some of the hostages there is a demand for ransom, which is a striking example of the real nature of these groups.
Another outrageous fact of abduction happened just yesterday in town of Snizhne Donetsk region - the armed group of terrorist organization “Donetsk People’s Republic” abducted 16 orphans, who were travelling to the neighboring region for health improvement. On the same day later the Russian side authorities allowed illegal entry of these children into its territory, although they didn’t have any permits, but only copies of the birth certificates, which is necessary to qualify as international abduction of children in accordance with the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
Financing of terrorism
The Law Enforcement Agencies of Ukraine have suppressed a number of attempts to deliver considerable amount of money in cash across the Ukrainian-Russian border, however we only can make assumptions how much have been managed to infiltrate into Ukraine to the terrorist organizations.
There are also cases of identified bank money transfers to terrorists. As example, on May 8 Financial Intelligence Agency of Ukraine has prevented the financial transaction of 3 mln. US dollars to the company in Donetsk city. The transaction was initiated by the commercial structure of the Ministry of Defense of the RF through its affiliated branch in Sevastopol city, Crimea.
Mercenaries or foreign terrorist fighters
There are numerous evidences of massive presence in Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine of the militants from abroad. The former soldiers of Russian armed forces or Law Enforcement Agencies with previous experience of participation in armed conflicts are potential supporters of terrorist’s movement in Ukraine, whose service is generously paid by so-called sympathizers of pro-Russian people in Ukraine.
Hundreds of soldiers from Special Battalion “Vostok”, which is the Special operations forces unit of Russian Armed Forces based in Chechnya, as well as members of the heavily armed Russian Cossack formation “Wolf Centurion” are not concealing their identities, openly operating in Slovyansk and Kramatorsk cities of Donetsk region and Donetsk city itself.
As a supporter of these terrorism manifestations in Ukraine, the Russian side is violating commitments undertaken in accordance with a set of international treaties on prevention and combating international terrorism, including the UN Global Counterterrorism Strategy.
During these days we have often heard one specific phrase, which many of you were saying in your statements – “Nothing can justify terrorism”! So, please, think about the meaning of this phrase, Nothing – means nothing!, without any exceptions and without any excuses for committing this terrifying crime! There cannot be any justifications for the deaths of fallen fighters and civilian victims of terrorism!
There shouldn’t be any doubts on a nature of these events - substitution of notions should be terminated. There is no civil war in Ukraine. The essence of the conflict is occupation of Crimea by Russian Federation and impudent interference in internal affairs, accompanied by support for terrorist actions against Ukrainian citizens and territorial integrity of the state.
We respect the calls of those, who stand for a peaceful resolution of the ongoing confrontation in the eastern Ukraine. A full-scale national dialogue with all political actors, regional representatives and the civil society is an absolute priority of the Government of Ukraine and our President. However, a dialogue with terrorists is impermissible and unconceivable.
We do not want our people to live in fear and our country to be torn to pieces. Ukraine has every right and responsibility to protect its people’s lives and its territorial integrity and we will do so until all terrorists are thrown away from Ukraine.
We call upon all Member States to join our efforts in countering and suppressing terrorism in Ukraine in all its forms and manifestations. We call for unity of the International Community in condemnation of Russian Federation’s continues violations of International Law.
There cannot be double standards in counterterrorism activity – either you fight against terrorism or you support it.
Therefore, we urge Russian Federation to not only declare its commitment to fight against international terrorism, but also prove it in practice and stop supplying terrorists and weapons into the territory of our country, to withdraw its militants from the territory of Ukraine and to support further restoration of peace and stability in Ukraine and the region. This would be a significant contribution of the Russian side to implementing of the UN Global Counterterrorism Strategy.
I thank you, Mr. President.