Interfax: Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin denies claims of Ukrainian military facility raid in Simferopol

UN Building file photo

(Interfax – March 20, 2014) Moscow’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin has said that Russian servicemen did not raid a Ukrainian military unit’s base in Simferopol.

“There was absolutely no storming of a Ukrainian military facility by Russian servicemen about which the permanent representative of Ukraine spoke today,” Churkin said at the UN Security Council.

“Having the support of the entire Russian nation, Crimean citizens are doing everything they can to keep Crimea peaceful and quiet. In their task, they will not be deterred by any provocations similar to the one staged in Simferopol a day ago, when two persons – an unarmed soldier of Crimea’s self-defense forces and a Ukrainian serviceman – were killed in a “Maidan-style” operation with a sniper rifle that was firing from a building located opposite to the Ukrainian military unit [base],” the Russian diplomat said.

“What is noteworthy is that Mr. Yatsenyuk [Ukraine’s acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk] and Mr. Turchynov [Ukraine’s acting President Oleksandr Turchynov] immediately rushed to take advantage of this obviously planned provocation by calling on Ukrainian servicemen in Crimea to use weapons. But against whom [can they use weapons]? Against their fellow soldiers?” Churkin said.

Churkin reaffirmed Russia’s readiness to cooperate with all of its international partners who are sincerely committed to securing normalization in Ukraine through some broad inter-Ukrainian dialogue.

“The Russian proposal concerning the establishment of a support group for Ukraine that was forwarded to our partners could help create a multilateral mechanism that would facilitate the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis. We look forward to a positive response to our constructive initiatives,” he said.

“We remain committed to further discussing any proposals aimed at implementing the February 21 agreement with the aim of restoring order in Ukraine, launching comprehensive constitutional reforms there and stopping provocations staged by ultra-nationalistic and radical forces against the Russian-speaking population and our compatriots in the southeast and other parts of Ukraine. These goals can also be achieved with the help of observers representing the OSCE and the Council of Europe who should impartially abide by their mandate and accurately coordinate the places and modalities of their deployment in different regions of Ukraine,” Churkin said.