Ukraine elections amid lack of choice risk further split - Russian envoy to UN
"At present there are no prerequisites for the election to defuse the existing tensions. The more so since, as you know, in Ukraine there is no political leader capable of uniting the nation. Holding elections in a situation like this would be the surest way to split the country, which would be a rather sad development," Churkin said after a meeting of the UN Security Council behind closed doors.
Churkin said holding elections would be particularly risky at a time when "Ukraine lacks a new constitution that would make all regions and political forces certain about their future".
The Russian envoy said that he explained that situation to the UN Security Council members in very clear terms.
On Friday the Security Council heard a report by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on his trips to Moscow and Kiev on March 20-22. Churkin said there was "a rather detailed discussion over the general situation involving Ukraine. "I believe that the discussion was not useless, but I would prefer not to say that our Western colleagues have changed their minds regarding a further line of action in relation to the Ukrainian issue," Churkin said.
In his opinion, "some members of the UN Security Council have been trying to create the atmosphere of an international crisis around Ukraine and waiting for Moscow to take steps to ease the tensions.
"We drew their attention to the fact that there is no international crisis on the agenda. There is a crisis in Ukraine, and we have a very clear idea of how Ukrainians should negotiate that crisis - through dialogue, through convening a constitutional assembly, through holding a referendum and through adopting a new constitution and then holding a presidential election - precisely what the February 21 accord provided for," Churkin said.
He expressed regret that Russia’s Western partners "are appealing to some general ideas that are very far from Ukrainian realities".
"This is possibly the reason why the crisis in Ukraine has gone so far," Churkin said.
Russia currently believes that the Ukrainian presidential election due this May is illegitimate because it fails to comply with the conditions set out in the February 21 agreement between the country's authorities and opposition, Russian Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Andrei Kelin said in Vienna.
"As regards the question whether (the election) will be legitimate or illegitimate, we currently believe that this election is illegitimate because it does not fit into what was set out in the (February 21) agreement," Kelin said during a video link-up between Moscow and Vienna on Friday.
For a legitimate president to be elected in Ukraine, the country's leader must be supported by all Ukrainians, and that requires changes to the legislation, he said.
"A constitutional reform is urgently needed. It must not be put off," the Russian diplomat said.
A number of countries apparently came under heavy pressure from Western states in the run-up to the UN General Assembly's vote on a draft resolution affirming Ukraine's territorial integrity, Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin told reporters. In addition, the results of the vote on the Ukraine resolution in the UN General Assembly on Thursday, March 27, show that Russia is not in isolation, Churkin said.
"A very large number of countries complained that they were subject to colossal pressure on the part of Western powers in order to make them vote in favor of supporting this resolution. Obviously, this tactic of pressure, which has been used by our Western colleagues, had a certain effect, and some countries voted [in favor of the proposed resolution], albeit reluctantly," he said.
He also said that the results of the vote on the Ukraine resolution in the UN General Assembly on Thursday, March 27, show that Russia is not in isolation.
"This is a rather good result for us. We have earned a moral and political victory. There can be no question of Russia's isolation in this situation," the diplomat said.
The resolution against the secession referendum in Crimea, which was part of Ukraine but seceded from it and reunited with Russia last week, was passed by a 100-11 vote with 58 abstentions.
Armenia, Belarus, Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Zimbabwe, Nicaragua, Syria, and Sudan supported Russia and voted against the resolution.
Unlike UN Security Council resolutions, those adopted by the UN General Assembly are not binding and are advisory in nature.
The resolution is "confrontational in nature", Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said.
"Russia's attitude towards the proposed draft resolution is negative," he said before the vote in the UN General Assembly.
Churkin believes that the document "is trying to call into doubt the significance of the referendum in Crimea, which has already played its historic role."
Churkin's remarks were broadcast by Russia's Channel One television station.
The draft resolution, which was submitted by Ukraine with the help of Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, Lithuania and Poland, was supported by 100 nations at the UN General Assembly vote. Eleven nations (Armenia, Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, North Korea, Nicaragua, Russia, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe) voted against, with 58 abstentions (among them China, Argentina, India, Brazil, Pakistan, Egypt, Senegal, Gabon, South Africa, and Kazakhstan).
"There is a clear tendency. Whereas some of our Western colleagues started to speak about Russia's isolation after the vote at the [UN] Security Council, here it is obvious that there is no isolation," Churkin said.
The 193-nation UN General Assembly passed Thursday a resolution declaring invalid Crimea's referendum that led to the region's reunification with Russia. Moscow is opposed, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said earlier. "The draft attempts to cast doubt on the significance of the referendum held in Crimea, which has already played a historical role. It is counter-productive to dispute this," Churkin said. At the same time, the draft resolution has "some right provisions," he said.
The non-binding resolution, titled "Territorial integrity of Ukraine," was approved with 100 votes in favor, 11 against, and 58 abstentions. The document says the March 16 referendum "has no validity, and cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea or of the City of Sevastopol."
It also "calls upon all States to desist and refrain from actions aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including any attempts to modify Ukraine's borders through the threat or use of force or other unlawful means."
Voice of Russia, AFP,