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Volodymyr Vasylenko: Russia’s Aggression Against Ukraine is a Serious International Crime

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Kyiv, March, 7th, 2014 – Volodymyr Vasylenko, Head of Commission for Investigation and Prevention of Human Rights Violations in Ukraine, asserts that Russia’s unprovoked aggression is a serious international crime. The serious disparity in the armed forces of Ukraine is the result of Yanukovych regime which served as a tool for the foreign policy of Russia.

Mr. Vasylenko notes that there are no legal grounds for the Crimean authorities’ decisions regarding the accession of Crimea to the Russian Federation. In accordance with article 73 of the Constitution of Ukraine, issues related to the state border of Ukraine may be resolved exclusively by an all-Ukrainian referendum. The Security Service of Ukraine has already started criminal proceedings against the representatives of the Crimean authorities with regards to the attempted breach of Ukraine’s territorial integrity as provided under the Constitution of Ukraine.

The situation is very difficult for Ukraine and the Ukrainian government urges its western partners, specifically those that are parties to the Budapest Memorandum, to take appropriate actions to stop Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Today Russia is already in the state of international isolation but, according to Mr. Vasylenko, condemning Russia as an aggressor is not enough to stop the aggression and restore legal order. Only coercive measures can have an influence on Russia.

‘Of course, the West will not use its armed forces against Russia and no one wants World War III to break out, but the western countries have at their disposal sufficient means – political and economic – to force Russia to give up its criminal behavior towards Ukraine. Serious economic actions must be taken right now and the range of such actions is very wide and efficient’, stressed Mr. Vasylenko.

According to the Head of Commission for Investigation of Human Rights Violations, among the political measures, the best one would be for the UN Security Council to adopt the relevant decision, but such decision will be blocked by Russia as a permanent member of the Security Council. A way out of this situation could be to convene a special session of the General Assembly and pass a resolution which would condemn the act of aggression and to urge the UN member countries to use sanctions against Russia.

Volodymyr Vasylenko, Head of Commission for Investigation and Prevention Human Rights Violations in Ukraine. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine, judge the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (2002-2005), Representative of Ukraine to the UN Council on Human Rights (2006-2010)


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