Kyiv , April 2, 2014 – Representatives of German and Czech communities in Ukraine at a media briefing in Ukrainian Crisis Media Centre rebutted the allegations of violation of national minorities’ interests in Ukraine which were articulated in the statement of the Russian Federation Foreign Ministry on March 28.
“Perhaps in the Russian Foreign Ministry, due to the log in theirs eyes, they fail to notice that the harassments are carried out with the hands of Russian soldiers in Crimea”, – said Alexander Becker, assistant head of the Kyiv Society of Germans “Wiedergeburt”. According to him, ethnic Germans in Ukraine are especially concerned about a Ukrainian soldier and an ethnic German David Wagner who was beaten by Russian invaders on the premises of the A-3009 military unit on Cape Fiolent in Crimea.
“We are concerned that the Russian government renders the conflict ethnic. We can definitely declare that it is safe for Germans in Ukraine. And right now we are not being pressured by the new Ukrainian government,” – said the head of the Council of Germans in Ukraine Volodymyr Leisle commenting on the statement of the Russian Federation Foreign Ministry on national minorities oppression in Ukraine. This point was also supported by Volodymyr Pinkovsky, the chair of the international NGO “Society of Germans in Ukraine – “Wiedergeburt.”
Lyudmila Mukhina, the chairman of “The Czech National Council of Ukraine” informed on human rights and freedoms of Czechs in Ukraine: “Czechs have lived in Ukraine for over 150 years. Our settlements – big and small – are scattered all over Ukraine, but we have never felt oppressed by anybody. We have been given an opportunity to learn our native language in the new Ukraine, to renew our traditions; we held 16 festivals. There cannot be any talk on Czech population discrimination! We are grateful to Ukrainian state for protecting our rights and freedoms and supporting all our endeavours.”
Ms Mukhina also suggested that Russian authorities had sought to sow discord between Ukrainian and Czech people. She condemned the aggression of the Russian Federation: “We, the Czechs of Ukraine, are concerned with the situation in our country and being its citizens we support the integrity of the state. The comment of the Russian Foreign Ministry Department, which sparked an international response, goes against reality and aims at misinforming the international community. We express our concern for the safety of Czechs and other nationalities living in the occupied Crimea”, – added the head of the “Czech National Council of Ukraine.”
She also stressed that the Czechs-citizens of Ukraine participated in the Kyiv and Lviv Euromaidans. Ms Mukhina informed that today the Czech National Council of Ukraine actively updates the Czechs living in Crimea on the real state of things as they have limited access to reliable information on Russian TV.
We remind that on March 15, 2014 the Council of Germans in Ukraine addressed an open appeal to the Government of Ukraine, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Russian Federation and German community in Crimea on the events in Ukraine. In this appeal the highest representative body of the German minority demanded that the Russian Federation immediately stop its military intervention in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea; it also called ethnic Germans to boycott the referendum on March 16, 2014.
The Council of Germans in Ukraine is a representative body of the German minority in Ukraine. Nowadays more than 170 German NGOs operate in Ukraine. The largest of them are the Association of Germans in Ukraine, the All-Ukrainian Union “The German youth in Ukraine” and the International NGO “Society of Germans in Ukraine – “Wiedergeburt”.
Society of Germans in Ukraine “Wiedergeburt” heads 16 organizations with 12 000 members. “Wiedergeburt” makes part of the Council of Germans in Ukrain .
Czech National Council of Ukraine is an all-Ukrainian civil organisation and a representative body of the Czech minority in Ukraine.
Alexander Becker is Assistant to the Chairman of the Kiev Society of Germans “Wiedergeburt” and an expert on economic issues.
Volodymyr Leisle is the President of the Council of Germans in Ukraine; he used to head the Association of German youth in Crimea (2000).
Lyudmila Mukhina, a candidate of the economic sciences, is the chairman of “The Czech National Council of Ukraine.
Volodymyr Pinkovskyy is a member of the Presidium of the Council of Germans in Ukraine, head of the international NGO “Society of Germans in Ukraine – “Wiedergeburt” and an activist of the civil movement “Honestly” in Zhytomyr region.