21 February

Press release on the situation in Ukraine ahead of the 5th anniversary of coup d'état

Since the coup d'état of 2014 that was openly supported by the United States and several Western countries, Ukraine has been sinking deeper into political turmoil, corruption, lawlessness and rampant aggressive nationalism.

Over the past five years, a wave of politically and ideologically motivated violence and crimes has engulfed Ukraine. On May, 2014, the entire civilized world was horrified by the carnage in Odessa that had been unleashed by Ukrainian fascists and resulted in dozens of innocent people burned alive. That crime remains unsolved, and the instigators of brutal murders, the victims of which became former deputy fr om the Party of Regions Oleg Kalashnikov, writer Oles Buzina and journalist Pavel Sheremet, are still unpunished.

Contrary to their statements about their commitment to democracy and respect for human rights and freedoms, the Ukrainian authorities in fact have declared a manhunt for those with their own views that are different fr om the official ones. Criminal proceedings are initiated against people who disagree with the policies of the current regime.

Attacks on human rights activists and public figures have become regular. According to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, more than 50 crimes against civil activists were recorded in 2018. Many opposition politicians, businessmen, journalists, political scientists and public figures have fled the country under the threat of criminal prosecution and physical violence.

Kiev continues to consciously cultivate the division of society on ethnic and ideological grounds. Militant chauvinism and xenophobia have been brought to the level of official policy. Nazi accomplices, collaborators and terrorists, such as Stepan Bandera, Roman Shukhevych, Yevhen Konovalets, Andriy Melnyk, etc., are glorified at the State level. Pro-fascist groups C14, National Corps, White Hammer and others encouraged by the Kiev authorities are marching around the country. Summer camps wh ere children are raised in a racially charged spirit and taught to destroy the "enemies of the Ukrainian State" are blatantly operating in Western Ukraine.

According to the annual report of the Israel Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, Ukraine has become the absolute leader in manifestations of anti-Semitism and intolerance towards people of Jewish origin. In this regard, it is quite significant that, along with the United States, Ukraine remains almost the only country that systematically votes against the resolution A/RES/73/157 "Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance" adopted annually by the UN General Assembly on the initiative of Russia.

The discrimination of rights and freedoms of national minorities is unprecedented. In fact, the new law "On Education" deprives their representatives of the opportunity to get education in their mother tongue. The process of total Ukrainization covers all spheres of life in the country wh ere the majority of the population either speaks Russian in everyday life or considers it their native language. The law on "The Use of the Ukrainian Language as the State Language" de facto prohibiting the use of the Russian language is being prepared for adoption by the Verkhovna Rada. Even today public speaking in Russian can be punished in some regions in Western Ukraine. Russia considers it a blatant linguistic discrimination.

The European partners are equally indifferent to Kiev's violations of the freedom of religion, the choice of denomination and the secret of faith. Notwithstanding the Constitution, the Ukrainian authorities have interfered in the religious life of the country. Having established the so-called "Ukrainian Orthodox Church", they have deepened the split existing in the local Orthodoxy and divided the Ukrainians into "friends" and "foes". The Ukrainian authorities have given "the green light" to the forced division of patrimony and abolishment of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Its clergymen are openly threatened with physical violence. Thus, a member of Parliament and the adviser to the President of Ukraine, a rampant nationalist Dmytro Yarosh, publicly incites "to hunt Moscow popes" and blasphemously notes that they will be "murdered with love" because of the cited natural "mercifulness of the Ukrainians". Such provocative statements are fraught with the gravest consequences up to a bloody sectarian war.

All this is taking place against the backdrop of the simmering armed conflict in Donbass. Kiev is ready to fuel it with a vengeance at any time to return the region under its control turning a blind eye to any possible victims. According to the UN, since April 2014 when the hostilities burst out, the death toll has exceeded 12 thousand, hundreds of people are missing and hundreds of thousands have become forced migrants. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian authorities continue the trade and economic, energy and transportation blockade imposed against the South-East which deteriorates the already complex situation.

The reigning legal nihilism and anarchy in Ukraine do not get a due response from Western partners, and this just encourages the Kiev authorities to new antidemocratic steps, breaches of the norms of moral and civilized behavior.

The Russian Federation is again calling on the UN, OSCE, the Council of Europe and the whole international community to give a principled assessment to all that is happening in Ukraine, to call on its authorities to recover the rule of law and rigorously adhere to its international obligations. The consequences of Kiev's refusal to observe these norms might be irreversible for both Ukraine and Europe as a whole.

The Embassy of the Russian Federation
in the Republic of Botswana