Russia must be held accountable for war crimes in Ukraine
On March 11th, 2020 the Trilateral Contact Group comprised of Ukraine, Russia, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) signed a proposal to create a Consultation Council. According to that decision, Russia wіll be replaced as the counterparty in the peace negotiations with the representatives of separate districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (ORDLO) – in fact with Russia-controlled terrorist organizations of the so-called Luhansk and Donetsk “people’s republics” (DNR & LNR).
The Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) calls on the President of Ukraine and the Parliament to reject this proposal. Agreeing to these terms would legitimize the Russian narrative of “internal conflict in Ukraine” and turn Russia from an aggressor into an “observer”, then possibly even to a “peacemaker”. Despite the ‘advisory’ status of the Consultation Council, this will be a step towards legitimizing Russian occupation forces in the Ukrainian legal system and with the international community. This is similar to the strategy deployed by Russia in other frozen conflict zones worldwide.
Ukraine’s consent to direct negotiations with the leaders of Russia-controlled terrorist organizations DNR and LNR would legitimize the Russian occupation in the region. Furthermore, it will have irreversible consequences for Ukraine’s sovereignty and ability to maintain international sanctions on Russia.
Such arrangements, if confirmed on 25 March, would undermine Ukraine’s national interests and relieve Russia from any responsibility for the ongoing war in Donbas and for the crimes committed against the Ukrainian people. Ukraine needs peace, but not at all cost. Ukraine must continue to demand that Russia ends its war and de-occupies Donetsk and Luhansk regions, as well as Crimea.
“UWC represents the concerns of the global Ukrainian community and maintains a clear and unequivocal position that there can be no direct negotiations with the leaders of Russia-controlled terrorist organizations DNR and LNR. Russia as an aggressor state bears full responsibility for the war in Donbas, restoring the region destroyed by the war and for de-occupying the sovereign Ukrainian territory of Donbas and Autonomous Republic of Crimea. We call on the President of Ukraine and the Parliament to reject the implementation of the proposal of Trilateral Contact Group as detrimental to the interests of Ukraine and its people”- stated UWC President Paul Grod.