28 august 2014 - Security Council - Ukraine - Statement by Mr. Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, chargé d’Affaires a.i.
I too would like to thank Mr. Jeffrey Feltman for his briefing.
The information coming to the Council from the ground is quite disturbing. The actions carried out by the separatists and the intensification of fighting in urban areas have brought about serious humanitarian consequences. Today we call upon all parties for restraint, to protect the civilian population and to respect international humanitarian law, bearing in mind the hundreds of thousands of terrorized and displaced persons.
Russia’s support for the separatists, in violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, is inadmissible. The presence of Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory and their direct participation alongside separatists in the taking of lives in Novoazovsk must not be tolerated. As the President of the French Republic recalled this morning, Russia must respect Ukraine’s sovereignty; it must halt its support to the separatists and call on them to accept a bilateral ceasefire. That is the framework in which a lasting political settlement must be sought, but Moscow must also agree to de-escalation measures. That presupposes the immediate halting of the delivery of military materiel to the separatists. It also assumes control along the Russian-Ukrainian border. On those issues we expect signs from Russia that will finally enable us to engage in a serious dialogue that benefits everyone. The prolongation or escalation of the conflict is not in the interests of Ukraine or Russia or the international community.
Although the face-to-face meeting in Minsk between Mr. Poroshenko and Mr. Putin on 26 August led to few concrete results, it was a positive step in that it allowed for direct contacts between the two Presidents, after the 6 June meeting in Benouville.
The Ukrainian crisis is one of the worst crises in Europe since the end of the Cold War. Our objective is to ultimately achieve a lasting political solution to this crisis, which has lasted for far too long. As long as Russia pursues escalation, it will not take the opportunity to resume political dialogue. We will therefore maintain the pressure. That is why the European Union adopted a substantial package of economic sanctions against Russia on 29 July. The sanctions will be maintained and will increase if the escalation continues. We hope it will not reach that point, as that is not in the interest of Russia or of anyone else.