Russia’s request to hold a public meeting on the law on what I call “the functioning of Ukrainian as the state language”, precisely on the day of the new Ukrainian president’s inauguration, has a specific reason. The Russian objective is to pursue its notorious policy of intimidation against Ukraine again. We therefore welcome the decision of the majority of member states not to support this Russian proposal. The law on “the functioning of Ukrainian as the state language” does not need the immediate attention of the Security Council which clearly needs to focus on its core mandate – the maintenance of international peace and security – and matters where we urgently need progress, instead of taking up the internal affairs of a sovereign UN member state without any discernible effects on peace and security in the region.
We regret the selective interpretation of the spirit and the text of the Minsk agreements by Russia. The people of Donbass continue to suffer; both the security and humanitarian situations remain dire. The clear priorities now are the comprehensive cease-fire, the withdrawal of heavy weapons and the humanitarian measures. On all those issues, progress is lacking. What we now urgently need is a renewed commitment by Russia and all sides to the Minsk Agreements and the Normandy Process.
We call for full, immediate and unconditional implementation of the Minsk agreements. The inauguration of the new Ukrainian president, who expressed his determination to restore peace again today should be an opportunity to give a new impetus to those agreements.