Only a year ago, when everyone in the EU was quite tired of hearing about Ukraine, with all the drama around the selective justice issue and the trade war carried out by Moscow against Kyiv, no-one could have imagined the speed and deterioration of recent events. Unfortunately, because of this tempo some partners tend to forget, by chance or intentionally, about all the crimes already committed by Russia against humanity, the world order and our common values. I would like to remind your readers of those crimes.
Since Ukraine regained independence 22 years ago, Russians have been regularly exploiting the notion of our peoples being brother nations. Because of the wish of my fellow citizens to live in a modern European country free of corruption, where a state exists for the sake of every citizen and not vice versa, all of us have overnight turned into neo-Nazis, junta, haters of the Russian world and killers of our own people. The incredible anti-Ukrainian propaganda machine is enriched every day with newly fabricated stories.
"Russia simply does not want to let Ukraine go. It needs Ukraine to be retarded, unstable, corrupt and uncompetitive in order to subdue it"
Against this backdrop, despite being a guarantor of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, Russia violated the 1997 UN charter bilateral treaty on friendship and the 1994 Budapest memorandum and annexed Crimea – an integral part of Ukraine – using its regular troops. Now the Russian regular forces are in the eastern regions of Ukraine while the so-called humanitarian convoys, in violation of Ukraine's sovereignty, are openly trafficking through the border as if it wasn't there.
Russia is exporting terrorism to Ukraine while providing continuous and direct support in funds, arms and military equipment to the terrorists in the Donbas. The reason why Ukraine insists that the so-called DNR and LNR be recognised as terrorist organisations is quite obvious: these people simply cannot be named separatists as a separatist would never destroy critical infrastructure and institutions in the territory for which it wants a better future.
An undeclared war in Donbas has already led to more than 3000 people being killed and many more wounded. More than 350,000 people were forced to leave their homes while five million of their neighbours are still living in the combat zone. With the downing of flight MH17, the tragedy evolving in the Donbas because of Russia's direct interference has unfortunately become familiar to many people throughout the world.
Numerous hostages are still being held by the terrorists. The case of Ukrainian officer Nadiya Savchenko remains the most outrageous; she was kidnapped by the terrorists, illegally transferred through the border and is now under official trial in Russia.
In addition to military invasion and terror, Ukraine is also facing trade and economic aggression from Russia. Trade and energy have been used as foreign policy tools of coercion. As a result, natural gas at the border with Russia is much more expensive for Ukraine than buying it from Germany or Slovakia.
Russia simply does not want to let Ukraine go. It needs Ukraine to be retarded, unstable, corrupt and uncompetitive in order to subdue it. That is why we observe all this destabilisation, as well as the tireless efforts of Moscow to veto the European choice and true democratic reforms in Ukraine. Against this background there can be no business as usual with Russia. Even if we imagine that tomorrow every Russian soldier leaves Ukraine and the Kremlin stops generating propaganda and sending support to the terrorists in the east, the damage is already done, both to Ukraine as well as international law and security. This must not remain unnoticed.
"Even if we imagine that tomorrow every Russian soldier leaves Ukraine and the Kremlin stops generating propaganda and sending support to the terrorists in the east, the damage is already done, both to Ukraine as well as international law and security"
That is why we expect the EU to remain our consistent ally, one that will not become a victim of Russia's double game. Moscow's hidden agenda must not prevail over our common values. We all need to remember that impunity in terms of crimes against Ukraine will have multidimensional implications for the entire world order.
All the latest resolutions of the European parliament prove that the overwhelming majority of MEPs share this understanding. Ukraine greatly appreciates this continued support. At the same time, it is my strong belief that in order to achieve substantial results and increase our shared capacity to resist Russian aggression, we need this support to evolve and improve.
Therefore I call upon every MEP who believes that the current situation represents a common challenge, to persuade the national parliaments, governments and societies of EU member states that, for the sake of Europe's future, Ukraine's territorial integrity must not be compromised and the Kremlin's crimes must not be forgotten. The world has to cut Russia down to size.
About the author
Kostiantyn Yelisieiev is ambassador and head of the Ukrainian mission to the European Union