I. Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine on the 5th anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly resolution “Territorial Integrity of Ukraine”
Five years ago, on 27 March 2014, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 68/262 “Territorial Integrity of Ukraine”.
By way of the resolution, the international community in response to the naked Russian aggression affirmed its full commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.
The United Nations General Assembly underscored that the so-called “referendum” held on 16 March 2014, having no validity, cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea or of the city of Sevastopol. The General Assembly called upon all States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any alteration of the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol on the basis of the above-mentioned “referendum”.
Despite the sanctions imposed in response to Russian actions and the clear demands of the international community, the Russian Federation has not abandoned its occupation of Crimea. On the contrary, continuing blatant violations of basic human rights in Crimea and the militarization of the peninsula have become the tip of an iceberg of Russia’s ongoing massive campaign of breaches of norms and principles of international law enshrined in the UN Charter, international humanitarian, maritime and human rights law.
These brazen actions of the Russian Federation prompted the General Assembly to adopt resolutions 71/205, 72/190, 73/263 “Situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine” and 73/194 “Problem of the militarization of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine, as well as parts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov”.
In these resolutions, the General Assembly condemned the temporary occupation of Crimea and urged the Russian Federation, as the occupying power, to uphold all its obligations under applicable international law. Yet again, Ukraine urges the Russian Federation to end its occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol and fully comply with the provisions of the mentioned UN General Assembly resolutions.
Ukraine will continue to take all necessary steps under international law to counter Russian aggression, protect the rights of Ukrainian citizens, restore its territorial integrity and ensure that Russia makes full reparation for the injury caused by its internationally wrongful acts.
II. Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine on the decision of Severo-Kavkazskiy district military court of the Russian Federation regarding the case of unlawfully sentenced citizen of Ukraine Pavlo Gryb
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine expresses a strong protest in relation to the decision of Severo-Kavkazskiy district military court of the Russian Federation dated 22 March 2019 on the unlawful conviction of the citizen of Ukraine Pavlo Gryb to 6 years of prison on the basis of fabricated accusations in terrorist activities.
The Russian side has blatantly violated norms and principles of international law – from the brutal kidnapping of Pavlo Gryb in Gomel city (Republic of Belarus) on 24 August 2017, to the failure to provide information on his location for a considerable period of time, unlawful detention in the cities of Krasnodar and Rostov-on-Don, denial of medical assistance up to the unlawful sentence.
All testimonies, provided by Pavlo in the course of court hearings, about intimidation, physical influence and psychological violence on the part of Russian law enforcement bodies were defiantly discarded by the court.
By this court decision the Russian side flagrantly violates human rights, in particular the right to a fair trial and right to life. As a consequence of received serious diseases and a critical health condition Pavlo Gryb might not survive the transferring and detention in inhumane conditions of the Russian penitentiary system. Pavlo Gryb requires continuous medical assistance, regular complex medical examination and stay in a specialized medical facility.
We demand to rescind the unlawful sentence in case of Pavlo Gryb, provide him with the constant medical assistance and ensure his release and unhindered return to Ukraine. We call on the international community to increase the pressure on the Russian Federation, the aggressor state, in order to stop grave violations of human rights and release the unlawfully sentenced citizen of Ukraine Pavlo Gryb.
Ukraine will continue to exercise all possible political and diplomatic tools to release Pavlo Gryb and all citizens of Ukraine illegally detained under politically motivated charges on the territory of the Russian Federation and the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.
In February 2014 Russian forces entered Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and occupied it militarily. In March 2014 Russia announced the peninsula had become part of the Russian Federation following a sham referendum that violated Ukraine’s constitution. The UN General Assembly’s Resolution 68/262 on the “Territorial Integrity of Ukraine” of March 27, 2014, and Resolution 73/263 on the “Situation of Human Rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol (Ukraine)”of December 22, 2018, called on states and international organizations not to recognize any change in Crimea’s status and affirmed the commitment of the United Nations to recognize Crimea as part of Ukraine. In April 2014 Ukraine’s legislature (Verkhovna Rada) adopted a law attributing responsibility for human rights violations in Crimea to the Russian Federation as the occupying state. The United States does not recognize the attempted “annexation” of Crimea by the Russian Federation. Russian law has been applied in Ukraine’s Crimea since the Russian occupation and purported “annexation” of the peninsula. For detailed information on the laws and practices of the Russian Federation, see the Country Reports on Human Rights for Russia.
A local authority installed by the Russian government and led by Sergey Aksyonov as “prime minister” of the “state council of the republic of Crimea” administers occupied Crimea. The “state council” is responsible for day-to-day administration and other functions of governing. In 2016 Russia’s nationwide parliamentary elections included seats allocated for purportedly annexed Crimea, a move widely condemned by the international community and that contravened the Ukrainian constitution.
Russian authorities maintained control over Russian military and security forces deployed in Crimea. Russian security services continued to consolidate control over Crimea and restrict human rights. Occupation authorities imposed and disproportionately applied repressive Russian Federation laws on the Ukrainian territory of Crimea.
Human rights issues included: disappearances; torture, including punitive psychiatric incarceration; mistreatment of persons in detention as punishment or to extort confessions; harsh prison conditions and removing prisoners to Russia; arbitrary arrest and detention; political prisoners; pervasive interference with privacy; severe restrictions on freedom of expression and the media, including closing outlets and violence against journalists; restrictions on the internet, including blocking websites; gross and widespread suppression of freedom of assembly; severe restriction of freedom of association, including barring the Crimean Tatar Mejlis; restriction of freedom of movement and on participation in the political process; systemic corruption; and systemic discrimination against Crimean Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians.
Russian-installed authorities took few steps to investigate or prosecute officials or individuals who committed human rights abuses, creating an atmosphere of impunity and lawlessness. Occupation and local “self-defense” forces often did not wear insignia and committed abuses with impunity.