U.S. Ambassador to the OSCE James Gilmore stated that Russia must return Crimea to Ukraine and to stop its aggression in the Donbas.
He stated this in his address published on the website of the organization. In it, he noted that despite the pandemic COVID-19, Russia has not weakened their aggression. The Ambassador assured that the war in the Donbas is not “internal conflict” as the so-called “trusted persons” in occupied territory could not exist without support from the Kremlin.
“Numerous media and non-governmental organizations have documented the presence of high-tech electronic warfare systems, tanks and anti-aircraft missile batteries in the Ukraine, all of which could only be obtained from Russia. As we have seen in the Permanent Council last week, Russia will do anything to shift the blame for the conflict on Ukraine and other States”, – he wrote.
But Gilmore said that neither Ukraine nor the United States do not bear responsibility for the occupation of Donbas and annexation of Crimea – all lies on the shoulders of Russia.
“While Moscow is struggling to hide his role in the conflict, claiming that she is an observer on the sidelines, its proxy forces in Eastern Ukraine continue to fight and limit the movement of the personnel of the Special monitoring mission,” – said the Ambassador.
He also noted that last week a number of States pointed to several cases where near OSCE observers fired or exploding shells.
“We will not tolerate efforts against members of this Mission, whether from small arms, shells or thinly veiled threats from members of the armed forces, led by Russia”, – he stressed.
Gilmore also said that Russia is lying when it talks about improving the lives of the Crimean Tatars. On the contrary, the Ambassador spoke about infringement of their rights and freedoms.
“On may 26, the occupation authorities raided the homes of four of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Kerch and initiated a new so-called criminal case on “extremism” at least in relation to one of them. Dozens of Crimean Tatar men remain in prison for “terrorism”, the so-called “extremism” because of cases involving exercise of their religious freedom,” said Gilmore.
These events have been condemned by the OSCE Permanent Council, said the Ambassador. All but one country, said that the Ukrainian Crimea, that now there is repression and military conscription on the Peninsula is a violation of the fourth Geneva Convention.
“Russia should abandon the charade, to return to Ukraine’s full control over the Crimea and withdraw its troops and military equipment from Eastern Ukraine. Only then will she be able to regain his place as a respected member of the society of Nations,” the Ambassador said.