Friday, June 14

Response of the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Mikhail Zakharova, to a question from the media about the position of the Russian Federation in connection with Ukraine’s request within the framework of the OSCE Vienna Document on Confidence- and Security-building measures

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Question: What is Russia’s position on Ukraine’s request to hold an urgent meeting within the framework of the OSCE Vienna Document on Confidence- and Security-building Measures?

Answer: On February 11, Ukraine, using the provisions of Chapter III (“Risk reduction”) According to the Vienna Document of 2011 on Confidence- and Security-building Measures (VD-2011), a notification was distributed over the OSCE Communications Network, in which it requested detailed information about “the ongoing strengthening of the grouping of troops/forces, the intensive movement of personnel and military equipment of the armed forces of the Russian Federation” in areas adjacent to Ukrainian territory, as well as in the “temporarily occupied” Crimea.

We could leave this request without consideration, because it contains unacceptable language about the status of Crimea. At the same time, confirming the commitment to openness in the military field, it was reported that Russia does not conduct any “unusual” activities mentioned in Chapter III of the VD-2011 near the borders of Ukraine, and, accordingly, there are no grounds for launching a danger reduction mechanism. At the same time, we drew the partners’ attention to the fact that a significant grouping of the armed forces of Ukraine is concentrated on the other side of the border, conducting almost daily shelling of civilians in Donbass. They stressed that the Ukrainian request is nothing more than an attempt to divert attention from the really “unusual” military activities of Ukraine itself.

As expected, such a response did not satisfy the Ukrainian side, which took the next step under the guise of Chapter III of the VD-2011 – Kiev requested bilateral consultations on February 15 this year mediated by the Polish OSCE Chairmanship-in-Office with the involvement of interested states in order to “remove concerns”. Frankly, the initiators can go further: abusing the provisions of the Vienna Document, to convene a joint meeting of two OSCE decision-making bodies – the Forum for Security Cooperation (FSB) and the Permanent Council (PS) – “to assess the situation and develop measures to stabilize the situation and stop the activities that have caused concern.”

On February 14, we sent an official response, where we repeated that the Russian Federation does not conduct any significant military activities, about which it is required to provide information within the framework of the VD-2011. In this regard, we do not see any grounds for applying the provisions of its Chapter III and will not take part in consultations and a possible meeting of the FSB and the OSCE PS. In addition, the partners were warned that the Russian Federation opposes making any decisions in this regard during these events. At the same time, we again drew attention to the numerous violations of the VD-2011 by Ukraine itself, which has been repeatedly stated at the FSB.

If our partners within the OSCE are really determined to reduce the military danger, then they should pay attention to the actions of Ukraine and its patrons, which create such a danger.



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