субота, 15 листопада 2014 р.

Thoughts following still another UN Security Council debate on the Ukraine-Russia conflict

Still another such session was held on November 12th pursuant to the initial request on this issue dated February 28, 2014 by Ukraine's Permanent Representative to the Security Council president when Russia invaded Crimea. This latest session was spurred on by a further letter of the Ukrainian side dated November 7th, following the purported elections in terrorist held territories of Ukraine and the most recent invasion into Ukraine by Russian troops, tanks, armored vehicles, howitzers and “humanitarian” convoys.

On one hand the Russian aggression against Ukraine is the subject of international concern at the global community's premier forum. On the other the proceedings highlight the futility of this forum and more importantly Ukraine's need to take on Russia by itself despite the seeming sympathy of that global community. The UN Security Council is essentially a television talk show. There is little purpose for the debate. Despite updates from UN undersecretaries and OSCE monitoring mission ambassadors, at the conclusion nothing is decided in this case because Russia holds a veto on action.

Perhaps the most striking example of international futility is that despite the Minsk protocol and memorandum of September 2014 pursuant to which all parties agreed to OSCE monitoring of the 400 km border between Russia and Ukraine near the war zone, OSCE in effect monitors some 2 km.

Still the diplomatic debate goes on. Russian Permanent Representative Vitaly Churkin was not in good form on November 12.  Not only was he not credible which has been a problem for some time, but now he didn't seem to care that no one was believing anything he was saying.  In arrogant and boorish fashion he simply attacked. Perhaps, assuming the tactic of an offense being the strongest defense by deflecting from the real issues, he attacked the OSCE monitors for being invited to brief the debate, thus poisoning objectivity and rendering the debate a farce.  He attacked the victim Ukraine.  He attacked the Ukrainian side for not abiding by the Minsk agreement with no examples or evidence and exhausting himself in the process he attacked Ukraine for not believing in the Minsk process, but simply using the “ceasefire” to regroup.

Not surprisingly the representative from Argentina participated in the debate yet managed to say absolutely nothing. Ukrainian sovereignty was never mentioned. Neither was Russia. The word “Ukraine” was used only in a geographic sense. Even China did better reinforcing its support for Ukraine's sovereignty. What continues to baffle me about this Kirchner position despite President Kirchner's affinity to Putin and Russia is that there is such a large and vibrant Ukrainian community in Argentina, apparently saying very little or not enough. Even some of my Ukrainian – American friends were born or spent their early years in Argentina. Perhaps they need a road map. The Permanent Mission of Argentina to the UN is located at 1 UN Plaza, just across 1st Avenue from the UN in New York City.  Public assembly and sound device permits can be obtained at the Midtown police precinct on 51 st Street between Third Avenue and Lexington.

Australia chaired the council meeting and its representative concluded the remarks of the Security Council members.  He spoke about respect for Ukrainian sovereignty, its territorial inviolability and blamed Russia for the conflict as well as the Malaysian Air tragedy.  However, the language excoriating Russia seemed to lose much of its bite as back home “down under” Prime Minister Tony Abbott was about to host the main perpetrator Vladimir Putin at the upcoming G20 summit. How do you condemn someone for murdering almost three hundred innocents among them many of your own people and then wine and dine the criminal in your own home? Only a politician  or diplomat can answer that question.

The United Kingdom and France as usual spoke diplomatically in support of Ukraine and against Russian aggression and duplicity.  So did Rwanda, Chad, Nigeria, Jordan, Luxembourg, the Republic of Korea and Chile. The representative of Lithuania as usual was particularly emphatic manifesting a  more pronounced understanding of Russian imperialism than the others.

Most disappointing, however,  was U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power. She was brilliant, best informed, forceful, articulate, generally disdainful of Russia and Vladimir Putin and strongly supportive of Ukraine. She supported her comments with tangible examples as evidence of Russian aggression and duplicity.  Unfortunately, her President was not in the audience listening to those arguments. He was in the far east meeting, greeting and generally having a good time with the object of her strong condemnation.

November 13, 2014                                                                         Askold S. Lozynskyj 

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