President condemns Russia military build-up on Ukraine border

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President Kersti Kaljulaid. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

President Kersti Kaljulaid has condemned the Russian Federation's military build-up along its border with Ukraine, at a UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting which took place Monday.

Speaking at the virtual open debate, the president said: "We are observing with deepest concern threats to use military force ... here in Europe. We are witnessing increased military build-up by Russia along the border of Ukraine, and in the occupied Crimea."

"Most recently, Russia announced that under the pretext of military exercises, it will block parts of the Black Sea, namely the passage through the Kerch Strait, restricting the navigation of foreign military and official ships, until October," the president continued, according to a press release from her office.

"The situation is aggravated by the fact that Russia does not engage in risk reduction and confidence building measures in the OSCE," she went on, adding that Russia has failed to explain its military build-up along the borders of Ukraine and in occupied Crimea last week at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), something which she said runs counter to that organization's confidence building mechanisms.

She added that: "Serious and massive human rights violations can pose a threat to peace and security – this Council has made that link stating that severe human rights violations are an early warning indicator of conflict with international implication."

"So, maintaining peace also depends on how states treat their own citizens. There must be accountability between a state and a society. This is the only road to a less violent world," the president added.

The president also spoke about the deteriorating situation in Myanmar, as well as Belarus, Yemen and Syria, which she called "unfolding tragedies."

A respect for territorial integrity and prohibiting the use of force are fundamental principles of international law at the core of the UN, EU, ASEAN and other regional organizations, Kaljulaid added.

In Myanmar, the ASEAN: "Has a critical role in pressuring the army to stop the atrocities. It is important that ASEAN will be able to organize a summit dedicated to the grave situation in Myanmar," she went on.

The UNSC open debate Monday focused on enhancing cooperation between the UN and Regional and Sub-regional Organizations.

Speakers included UN Secretary General António Guterres, Former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President of Viet Nam Nguyen Xuan Phuc and President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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