"Ukraine broke the so-called 'silence procedure' and blocked Russia’s manipulative draft resolution submitted to the UN General Assembly, which opened a window of opportunity for political manipulation, in particular lifting sanctions, under the guise of fighting the novel coronavirus," Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN Serhiy Kyslytsya said in an exclusive commentary to Ukrinform.
In this regard, he cited a number of fundamental reasons why the Russian initiative went beyond international standards and could not be approved by the General Assembly.
"First, the removal of trade barriers and economic security measures should be discussed at a specialized agency of the UN – the World Trade Organization – not in the margins of the General Assembly," Kyslytsya said.
Second, according to him, the proposed clause on the abolition of sanctions "destroys the logic of responsibility for gross violations of the UN Charter" and other norms of international law.
"Exploiting the grief of millions of people to get their own profits and get sanctions lifted is an example of political manipulation. The Kremlin understands perfectly well that international sanctions do not affect the humanitarian assistance needed to counter Covid-19," the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN said.
He stressed that Ukraine strongly supported the opening of humanitarian corridors to provide assistance where it is most needed.
Third, Kyslytsia called Russia's initiative a classic example of a propaganda camouflage for its own aggressive foreign policy: "On the one hand, Russians declare their intention to help other countries during the pandemic and, on the other, block the transit of humanitarian goods to Ukraine. In addition, they close the occupied territories of Donbas for international observers and humanitarian aid and do not respond to threats of possible infection faced by Ukrainian political prisoners in prisons in the temporarily occupied Crimea or in the Russian Federation."
Fourth, Ukraine assumes that easing or lifting of sanctions should occur not driven by fight against pandemic but as a consequence of "termination of violations of international law by the aggressor and holding the aggressor accountable."
The diplomat noted that the manipulative wording of Russia’s draft resolution undermined the efforts of the Secretary-General and a wide range of UN member states who sought real solidarity in the fight against Covid-19.
Kyslytsya recalled that Ukraine had been a co-author of the draft universal resolution tabled by Singapore, Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Indonesia and Ghana, which had already been supported by 187 states. "Such widespread support is a real example of global solidarity," he said.
The Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN noted that the virus could not be overcome with slogans and political declarations: "We need real action without hidden plans of personal gain."
The diplomat also stressed that Ukraine had begun to attract the attention of foreign partners in the UN to Russian attempts once Moscow started a conversation about the need to lift international sanctions.
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