Russian aggression has already claimed lives of over 240 Ukrainian children in the conflict-affected areas of eastern Ukraine, says Ambassador Yevhenii Tsymbaliuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna.
"Since the beginning of Russia’s aggression in 2014, more than 240 Ukrainian children lost their lives, 56 more went missing, and hundreds were wounded," Tsymbaliuk told the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on Thursday, June 3.
Ukraine continues to "severely condemn" Russia's attacks against civilian population, the envoy stressed. "They must be stopped. Russia needs to focus instead on implementing its part of the security provisions of the Minsk agreements."
The government-controlled areas along the line of contact remain vulnerable towards Russia’s armed attacks, the ambassador recalled. Last week, the OSCE monitors confirmed damage to residential areas in Maryinka, Hranitne, and Pivnichne, all caused by mortar rounds, projectiles and anti-tank guided missiles fired from an easterly direction.
Read alsoZelensky enacts NSDC's decision to resolve situation in Donbas"We also urge the Russian side not to proceed further with its creeping integration of the occupied territories of Donbas and revoke any decisions and steps undermining Ukraine's sovereignty. On May 21, graduates of some schools in the occupied part of Donetsk region passed their final exams under the Russian educational system and laws.
"We ask the SMM, in line with its mandate, to verify this information and reflect it in the Mission's reports to participating States," the ambassador stressed.
Reports by international bodies remain an important source of verified information on Russia's massive violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the occupied parts of Ukraine, the diplomat noted.
"In its most recent Update on the human rights situation in Ukraine issued on 31 May, the UN OHCHR informed on a number of such violations in the temporarily occupied Crimea, including prosecution of religious communities, tortures of detained persons by the occupation law enforcement agencies, restrictions of freedom of opinion and expression, violations of fair trial guarantees and many others."
The ambassador has thanked OSCE member states, which highlight these violations in their statements, including by referring to specific cases. As stated many times before, public attention often prevents tortures of detainees and abuses of human rights. It also contributes to the international pressure on Russia to make it release all Ukrainian political prisoners.
"We, again, urge the Russian Federation to reverse its illegal occupation of Crimea, militarization of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, and to stop its aggression against Ukraine, including by withdrawing its armed formations, mercenaries and their hardware from the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and fully implementing its commitments under the Minsk agreements," Tsymbaliuk said.