Remarks by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at a UN Security Council Meeting on Ukraine

Ambassador Samantha Power
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
New York City
March 1, 2014


Thank you, Madam President.  The United States renews our call for the international community to support the newly formed government of Ukraine and to prevent unnecessary violence.   I would like to take a moment to respond to the comments made here by the representative of the Russian Federation.  Actions speak louder than words.  Early this morning, the Russian Duma acted to authorize the use of military force in Ukraine.  This is as dangerous as it is destabilizing.  We are deeply disturbed by reports this morning of Russian military intervention into Crimea.  This intervention is without legal basis-indeed it violates Russia's commitment to protect the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence of Ukraine.  It is time for the Russian intervention in Ukraine to end.

The Russian military must stand down; the aspirations of the Ukrainian people must be respected; and political dialogue must be allowed to continue.  We applaud the remarkable restraint and commitment to that dialogue that the new Ukrainian government in Kyiv has demonstrated in the face of hostility.

We have said from the outset that we recognize and respect Russia's historical ties to Ukraine.  But instead of engaging the government of Ukraine and international institutions about its concerns for ethnic Russians, Russia ignored both and has instead acted unilaterally and militarily.

It is ironic that the Russian Federation regularly goes out of its way in this Chamber to emphasize the sanctity of national borders and of sovereignty, but Russian actions in Ukraine are violating the sovereignty of Ukraine and pose a threat to peace and security.

Russia alleges various actions against and threats to minority groups in Ukraine.  We see no evidence of these actions yet, but Russia's provocative actions could easily push a tense situation beyond the breaking point.  Russia's incitement of groups to come out to protest is not responsible behavior in the present situation.  There is a clear way forward that would preserve Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity, and address Russia's concerns.  First, Russia should directly engage the government of Ukraine.  Second, international monitors and observers - including from UN and OSCE should be sent to Ukraine. That's the best way to get the facts, monitor conduct, and prevent any abuses.  Russia is a leading member of both institutions and can participate actively to ensure that its interests are upheld.

The immediate deployment of international observers from either the OSCE or United Nations to Crimea would also provide transparency about the movement and activities of military and para-military forces in the region and defuse the tensions between different groups. We are also working to stand up an international mediation mission to the Crimea to begin to deescalate the situation, and facilitate productive and peaceful political dialogue among all Ukrainian parties.

Our paramount concerns are to end the confrontation and to find a solution that allows the Ukrainian people to determine their own destiny, their own government, their own future.  That must be the goal of this Council and the international community.

The United States will work with Ukraine, our allies and partners in Europe and around the world, and here at the United Nations to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and democratic future of Ukraine.

Thank you.