Estonia issues joint UNSC statement condemning Russia activity in Ukraine

Estonia's UN Ambassador, Sven Jürgenson.
Estonia's UN Ambassador, Sven Jürgenson. Source: UN

Estonia issued a joint-statement with several other nations at the UN on Tuesday, calling for an end to Russian activity in eastern Ukraine, condemning the annexation of Crimea, and urging adherence to the Minsk agreement principles.

The statement, made jointly by Belgium, France, Poland and Germany, said Russia has a particular responsibility to end its influence in the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk and Luhansk and following a UN Security Council (UNSC) briefing on the topic, according to a foreign ministry press release.

Estonia is a non-permanent member of the UNSC. France is a permanent member, Belgium and Germany are current non-permanent members and Poland is a former non-permanent member. Russia itself is a permanent member.

This covers both financial and military aid to and control of Ukraine.

"By the use of force against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, Russia is clearly violating the fundamental principles of international law," the statement, read out by Estonia's Permanent Representative to the UN Sven Jürgenson, said.

Russia has violated the 2014 Minsk Protocol since their inception on a regular basis, according to the foreign ministry, and amending this is crucial for progress to be made.

Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs at the UN, had earlier briefed the UNSC members on the situation in Ukraine.

Additionally, representatives of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission outlined the humanitarian situation in Donbas – the region in southeastern Ukraine (and straddling the border with the Russian Federation) where insurgency warfare has been ongoing since 2014 – at Estonia's behest.

In a statement made on behalf of Estonia, Ambassador Jürgenson also reiterated the strong condemnation by foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) of an attack earlier in the week by Russia-backed forces near Zolote, in the Luhansk oblast.

"[The attack] is a grave violation of the Minsk agreements and an unfortunate display of Russia disregarding its recommitment to the ceasefire during the Paris meeting," Jürgenson said, adding this was only a chapter in a conflict which has been ongoing for six years, and expressing concern over the 3.4 million people in eastern Ukraine still requiring humanitarian aid. 

As a UNSC member, Estonia has committed itself to being a persistent voice in maintaining focus on events in Ukraine. One of the foundations of Estonia's UNSC membership is a consistent adherence to a policy of non-recognition of illegal occupations and annexations, the foreign ministry says.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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