Estonia and two of its key allies, the United States and the United Kingdom, has issued a statement condemned attempts y the Russian Federation to present itself as a mediator in the Ukraine conflict.
The three countries made the declaration a the UN Security Council (UNSC), where Estonia has a non-permanent seat. The U.S. and the U.K. are permanent members.
Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) says that a meeting organized by Russia, which also has a permanent UNSC seat, had prompted the three countries response, adding that they can see through the aggressor's attempts to present itself as a mediator within an internal conflict.
Reinsalu said: "We support the peaceful resolution of the conflict in eastern Ukraine ,with full respect to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Russia's attempts to bend the truth are not conducive to this."
Russia annexed the Crimea region from Ukraine in 2014. An ongoing insurgency war involving pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of Ukraine began in the same year.
The joint U.S./Estonian/U.K. statement read: "Russia held a meeting at the UN today on what Russia claims is the status of the implementation of the Minsk agreements. This meeting was a transparent attempt to present a false and misleading narrative regarding the conflict in eastern Ukraine. We strongly reject Russia's premise that it is acting as a mediator within an internal conflict. Russia is an active participant that trains, arms, and leads armed formations in areas outside of Ukrainian government control, supplementing these proxy forces with military personnel and equipment. It instigated and continues to fuel a conflict which has resulted in approximately 13,000 deaths, appalling human rights abuses, and a deteriorating humanitarian situation for the civilian population."
Russia used the informal Arria formula to hold its meeting, where speakers included the representatives of the separatist republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, both in eastern Ukraine.
Two other UNSC member states apart from Russia spoke at the meeting, while other EU countries boycotted it, BNS reports.
Russia doubling down on Minsk agreements
Russia reiterated its support for the Minsk Protocol, signed as its name suggests in Minsk, in September 2014, between Russia and the two separatist republics named above, and its firm commitment to see the peaceful resolution of the conflict with full respect of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Russia and the two other countries taking part welcomed the steps taken by the Ukrainian government to make progress in resolving the conflict and call on Russia to act likewise.
The U.S./U.K./Estonia statement continued: "We will continue to engage with all initiatives at the UN that support constructive ends. This event, designed purely to distort the realities of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, served Russian interests alone."
Editor: Andrew Whyte