Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 23.09.2018
The 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly will soon commence. It will consider the “situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine” after a vote to include this agenda item was held on September 21. The vote was 68 in favour, 13 against, with 48 abstentions.
Russia invaded Ukraine on 20 February 2014 and subsequently occupied Crimea and part of Donbas. Russia wages war against Ukraine to this day. But a campaign of disinformation by the Kremlin has been largely unchallenged in the four and a half years since the invaders from Muscovy came. The horror of Putin at war and the brutality of occupation of the southern and eastern parts of Ukraine by the Muscovites has been masked by Kremlin information warfare. According to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, consideration by the UN General Assembly of the “situation” in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine will convey to the world the tragic consequences of the occupation of Crimea and the ongoing warfare in Donbas where Muscovy is the aggressor.
President Poroshenko will begin a working visit to the United States on September 24. He will address the UN General Assembly on September 26. While at the UN, President Poroshenko proposes to send a note on Ukraine’s decision not to extend the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation as an official UN document.
Iryna Gerashchenko said that Ukraine at the UN should “maximize the use of a high international platform for delivering information about daily human rights violations in the Russian-occupied territories, security and environmental threats.” Iryna Gerashchenko is the First Vice Chair of the Verkhovna Rada, and she’s Ukraine’s representative to the humanitarian subgroup of the Trilateral Contact Group under the Minsk Agreement. She has negotiated prisoners swaps for Ukrainians who are being held as prisoners of war and as hostages in Putin’s dungeons in Donbas. She is trying to secure the release of Ukrainian prisoners of conscience who are being held hostage by the Putin regime of state terrorism in Crimea, Ukraine (temporarily Russian-occupied) and in the Russian Federation. Gerashchenko will be at the UN General Assembly session.
It is worth noting who supports Russian aggression against Ukraine. The following countries voted with the Russian Federation in opposing having the UN General Assembly consider the situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine: Armenia, Belarus, Burundi, Cuba, Iran, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Philippines, Sudan, Syria, and Venezuela. Tellingly, none of the autocratic countries are substantial allies and none can be of material help to Putin as he invades and occupies Ukraine.
The UN General Assembly will have a lot to consider, as the “situation” in Russian-invaded and occupied Crimea and Donbas is dire. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has issued a second report cataloging the grave violations of international human rights law in Crimea. UNESCO has noted the deterioration of the situation in temporarily occupied Crimea in the sphere of education, the use of the Ukrainian language, and with the preservation of cultural heritage. The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine regularly documents violations of the Minsk Agreement by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in Donbas (an army which the OSCE SMM calls “armed formations” in “non-government controlled” territory).
Russia is at war with Ukraine. Crimea and part of Donbas are temporarily and illegally occupied by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. When the UN General Assembly considers the “situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine” it will have some chance to cut through four and a half years of massive and mostly successful Kremlin information warfare against the truth. The stories of the captive population of Ukrainian citizens who are being subjected to the vicious tyranny of foreign invaders from Muscovy must be heard in the world’s forum for peace, the United Nations.