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Ukraine’s Ambassador to Tajikistan Viktor Nikitiuk: Russian aggression in Ukraine threatens global peace
10 September 2014 15:07

On 9th September Tajikistan marked his 23 years from the day of its Independence. To this date, Tajikistan reached significant achievements in the development of national statehood, strengthening its position in the international arena, and solving of pressing social and economic problems.

On 11-12 September 2014 the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit will be held in Dushanbe, in the framework of which Tajikistan will successfully complete his chairmanship.

I heartily congratulate friendly Tajikistan with its national holiday and hosting this high level Summit in the capital and I would like to confirm Ukraine's continuous interest in strengthening our bilateral partnership, as well as interest of Kiev with regards to regional processes and projects in Central Asia.

In Ukraine, with due attention was received a message stating that the participants of the Dushanbe meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the SCO on July 31 of this year, expressed deep condolences to the families and relatives of the lost passengers of airlines "Malaysia Airlines " (shot down July 17, 2014 in the territory of the Ukrainian Donbas temporarily controlled by pro-Russian mercenaries).

Ukraine has taken comprehensive measures to ensure an open, impartial, independent investigation and full cooperation in the effort to find out the causes of the tragedy, as provided in the UN Security Council Resolution №2166. Hopefully, in the near future the perpetrators of this heinous crime will suffer a just punishment.

The recent events in Ukraine are not by accident in the center of world’s attention. The international community was not prepared for a situation, where a nuclear power, and permanent member of the UN Security Council commits an act of aggression against the neighboring peaceful nation, annexing part of its sovereign territory, exporting terrorism and still continuing to conduct against it undeclared "hybrid" war.

The situation is exacerbated by at least three factors. Firstly, the nuclear status of the Russian Federation necessitates extremely cautious approach to the use of military means against the aggressor. Secondly, the decision-making mechanisms in the UN Security Council and the OSCE, bearing primary responsibility for security in the region, are blocked by the right of veto in one case and the rule of consensus - in the other. Third - energy blackmail by Russia in relation to European partners.

The essence of what is happening was precisely expressed in President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko’s words: aggression against Ukraine has moved beyond bilateral relations, it destroys the foundations of the world order, it is a mockery of international law, and it threatens European and global security.

In the context of an ongoing stream of misinformation from the Russian Federation, it is important to understand the causes of aggression. The reasons of annexing the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the current events in Donbas, Moscow calls the violation of the right to the use Russian language and the consequent need to protect "compatriots", lack of attention to the opinion of some regions, including on governmental issues, the distribution of powers between the center and the regions.

These "arguments" on matters, relating solely to the internal jurisdiction of Ukraine does not outstay critics. Any clear-headed person, acquainted with Ukraine not by hearsay, will confirm: there is no and has never been any problem with Russian language in Ukraine. It is enough to turn on the TV, radio, get acquainted with an assortment of periodicals or bookselling, and communicate with people on the streets. There are, however people, who are actively fueled by Moscow to ignore the norms of the legislation on the state status of the Ukrainian language.

In turn, the so-called concept of "protection of compatriots", "Russian world", etc. are no more than a Kremlin-approved methods of intervention in the internal affairs of neighboring states and destabilization of political situation for the purpose of preventing the free choice of their foreign policy.

With regard to considering the interests of regions, the extension of their real rights and powers is one of the key points of constitutional reform in Ukraine being conducted by the new leadership of the country. Do not confuse this process with intrusively advertised by Moscow idea of federalization, for which Ukraine does not have any cultural, historical or socio-economic reasons.

Sometimes you could also hear the argument that Crimea was "returned" to the Russian Federation as a tribute to the historical justice. I would like to remind you that the Crimean region was transferred in 1954 from the RSFSR to the Ukrainian SSR for purely economic reasons, since Crimea had received electricity and water from Ukraine. Through the "mainland" Ukraine passes the only land route to the peninsula, on the acquisition of which, obviously, Russia has, not in the least, sent an armed invasion to Ukraine.

Also, there is no reason to believe the Crimea, occupied by the Russian Empire in the 2nd half of the XVIII century, to be the "native Russian land." Indigenous peoples of the Crimea are Crimean Tatars, as well as few Karaimes and Krymchaks, and in accordance with international law, Autonomous Republic of Crimea has been and remains an integral part of Ukraine.

Maybe an objective threat to the interests of the Russian Federation was the perspective of signing the Association Agreement with the EU by Ukraine or change of the country's leadership? Maybe it threatened the implementation of Russia's own integration projects? Or was it the threat of Ukraine becoming very close to the European Union? But these "arguments" are not better than the old ones, because all economic aspects arising from the signing of the Association Agreement could have been resolved at the negotiating table. Neighborly relations and mutually beneficial cooperation with RF always had been a priority of Ukraine. The Russian Black Sea Fleet received Ukrainian registration until 2042. Ukraine chaired the CIS and was ready to look for mechanisms of cooperation with the Customs Union. European Union as an organization does not have the military potential to pose threat on Russia.

Thus, the objective prerequisites, which would have caused the development and adoption of the decision made by the Kremlin about armed intervention in Ukraine, didn’t exist. Therefore, the primary role was played by subjective factors - false phobias, complexes and ambitions, namely:

  • fear of loss of Ukraine - Kyiv Rus as a fundamental source of statehood, orthodoxy and culture of Moscovia, which later started to call itself as Russia;
  • fear that the success of a peaceful European integration plans against the wishes of Moscow will be an example for the countries of the CIS and the subjects of the Federation itself;
  • the fear of weakening the RF influence in the former Soviet Union, including in terms of the implementation of its own integration projects;
  • the desire to demonstrate to partners of the "near abroad", what can be the consequences of ignoring the will of Moscow;
  • the desire to demonstrate the "West" that Russia will stop at nothing to rebuild its zone of influence within the former Soviet Union;
  • an attempt to divert the attention of Russian citizens from chronic social, economic, demographic and political problems of Russian Federation;
  • the inability to get rid of imperial thinking and perceive itself as self-sufficient state entity, peacefully coexisting with equal partners, but not through metropolitan power that needs constant nourishment from the dependent territories.

Plans of the Russian aggression in Ukraine were thoroughly developed long beforehand and they had a number of scenarios, not pretending to originality. Enough to look at the history of Ukraine of 1917-20, the events of the beginning of the Second World War, and finally the modern history - Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), Transdniestria (Moldova), Abkhazia and South Ossetia (Georgia).

Unfortunately, today, all scenarios are still valid. Unable to blitzkrieg of 2008 model - comes into effect the scenario of creating frozen conflict zone, with the perspective to introduce there Russian "peacekeepers" as "guarantors of peace and stability," with "humanitarian convoy" in circumvention of international law, calls for granting statehood to terrorists, offer "peace plans" without mentioning the aggressor and the other "good services" of the Russian Federation.

Having occupied the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and conducting a war of aggression against Ukraine at the Donbas, Kremlin is trying hard to impose on Russian disinformation consumers the idea that Ukraine is going through a civil war.

There is no and cannot be a civil war in Ukraine, as we do not have broad masses of population involved in an armed confrontation. The war in Ukraine, against Ukraine is conducted by Moscow. Russian forces and mercenaries are fighting in Ukraine, and weapons, equipment and financial support come from Russia as well. There are, of course, our homegrown separatists as well as people brainwashed by Russian propaganda.

The attempt to recreate myth of some fascists-banderovtsy in Ukraine is absolutely inappropriate. Stephan Bandera was one of the leaders of Ukrainian national liberation movement of the twentieth century, who fought on the territory of Ukraine against the fascists as well as against the Stalinist dictatorship – the latter having exterminated millions of Ukrainians with famine-genocide. He was assassinated by a Soviet agent in 1959. OUN-UPA (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists - Ukrainian Insurgent Army) was acquitted by the Nuremberg Tribunal. Historical term "banderovtsy" applies to the middle of the last century, but not to the beginning of the current one.

The idea with the "fascists" also has huge problem - there is not even a hint of having sympathy for fascist ideology, symbols or practices in Ukraine, and all those who visited our country are well aware about that. Dozens of neo-Nazi organizations, skinheads’ fascist youngsters terrorizing migrants – it is in Russia, not in Ukraine.

If we are talking about the Second World War fascists, then let's have a look at the facts. There are two famous Wehrmakht units, members of which were Ukrainians - "Halychyna" SS division (for all period of its existence this division comprised about 50 thousand fighters) and "Nakhtigall" battalion (800 people).

As for the Russian military units, who fought for the Nazis side, there were dozens. The sole Russian Liberation Army (ROA) of Vlasov for the period of its existence comprised about 800 thousand people, and the total number of Russians fighting on the Nazis side, according to researcher’s estimates was about 2 million.

Or maybe the Kremlin's propaganda is trying to hang the "fascist-punitive” label on Ukrainians, who, with arms in their hands, are implementing their sacred duty to defend their Fatherland from the external enemy and fight against terrorism? Then how to call those, who, carrying out criminal orders, come from Russia to Ukraine to shed Ukrainians blood?

It is clear today, that unpredicted results of Kremlin’s aggression have become consolidation of the Ukrainian political nation around the unity, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, as well as acceleration of Ukraine's reapprochement with the European Union and NATO. Quite indicative in this regard was the statement of Ukrainian-NATO Commission in Wales at the highest level adopted on 4th September 2014, strongly condemning the Russian aggression and demanding the abolition of the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

Among other "achievements" of the Russian Federation as a result of aggression against Ukraine are the following:

-      the international isolation of the Russian Federation, that indeed put itself in an outcast-country position;

-      economic sanctions, although they haven’t yet reached an unacceptable level for Russia, but are reflecting on its citizens and the economy as a whole;

-      compromising  Russia’s role as a predictable international partner, a member of the UN Security Council, whose president in 1994 signed the Budapest Memorandum as one of the guarantors of the territorial integrity of Ukraine;

-      undermining the achieved level of Russia’s cooperation with a number of influential international organizations and world powers;  

-      a real prospect of strengthening NATO's military presence in Eastern Europe;

-      decline of Moscow’s authority and increase of distrust towards Russian Federation amongst its closest partners;

-      an indelible wound in the Ukrainian-Russian relations, normalization of which is possible only after stopping the illegal occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea;

-      growing discontent with the policies of the ruling regime within Russian citizens, including military personnel fighting in Ukraine without any identity insignia, and members of their families,  who are deprived of the possibility to say a proper farewell to their loved ones embarking on their final journey;

-      an indelible stain on the reputation and a further fall in real (not imaginary) ranking of politicians involved in unleashing a war of aggression in Ukraine.

Although the list is not exhaustive, one thing is clear - the overall strategic position of the Russian Federation for the period of its armed intervention in Ukraine deteriorated significantly. Aggression against Ukraine was a gross miscalculation of Russian policy, comparable to Hitler's untrustworthy attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941. Unenviable role in the scam is given to Russian diplomacy, acting as a mouthpiece for the Kremlin's propaganda, and the Russian Themis, illegally keeping the kidnapped Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko and film director Oleg Sentsov.

I won’t exclude - there may be hunters, who would accuse me of Russo-phobia. This would be a superficial impression. I love Russia, where I have been many times, where my relatives, classmates and fellows for military service live. I warmly sympathize mothers whose sons have died in the criminal war waged by Kremlin. There is a largest Ukrainian diaspora in Russia (in the absence of Ukrainian schools, classes, editions and programs). Millions of Ukrainians have invested their talent, strength and intelligence to the development of the Russian Empire, the RSFSR and current Federation. It is no secret that within Russian Federation there are number of areas that are historically ethnic Ukrainian lands.

The collapse of the multinational empires is the dominant of global development, no matter how long and painful is the agony. Is the empire complex curable? Many nations that were once metropolis of multinational empires have got rid of this complex long time ago. I think Russia will definitely come to this, and the current tragic events in eastern Ukraine will accelerate this process.

Moreover, it shouldn’t be forgotten that Kremlin is not similar to Russia. Kremlin's propaganda is aimed largely on hocusing its own citizens, but I firmly believe in the healthy forces of the Russian society, whose voices are heard more and more distinctly. Finally, the true information on casualties and injuries of thousands of Russian troops was broadcasted on Russian TV channels, broking through the information blockade carefully preserved by Kremlin.

Thanks to the successive peace initiatives of President Poroshenko, the firm position of the international community and sanctions against Russia, on 5th September in Minsk at the meeting of the Trilateral (Ukraine-Russia-OSCE), contact group on the implementation of the Peace Plan of the President of Ukraine a protocol was signed providing for immediate bilateral cease-fire in the Donbas. Ukraine is doing everything possible to accelerate the restoration of peaceful life in the liberated from insurgents towns and villages of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, relying on our own resources as well as on the support from the international community.

In Tajikistan people know the value of peace and dearly love their Homeland. New modern schools and sport centers have opened their doors to the beginning of the school year. During the celebration of the 23rd anniversary of Independence of the Republic of Tajikistan and the preparations for the summit of the SCO I would like to sincerely wish the friendly Tajik people prosperity and new successes in building a prosperous, united and independent Tajikistan in strengthening the equal and mutually beneficial relations of your own country with all of your friends and partners!

Congratulations, dear friends!

 Published on September 11, 2014 in “Business and Politics” – an independent political and economic newspaper of Tajikistan 

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