Сomment by Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexander Lukashevich on the inspection conducted by Ukraine in the Rostov Region
As previously reported, on February 9-12, 2015 a group of four Ukrainian army officers conducted an inspection of the so-called specified area of 15,000 square kilometres in the Russian Federation’s Rostov Region. The inspection was held in accordance with the 2011 Vienna Document on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures, and was aimed at determining whether military activities subject to advanced notification are taking place or not.
The group has not identified any such activity, its head reported after the inspection had completed its work. He went on to say that the accompanying Russian group “acted in strict compliance with the provisions of the Vienna Document.”
It would seem that the inspection has delivered on its objective. The four officers of Ukraine’s Defence Ministry carried out their official duties in good faith, delivering an impartial assessment of the state of affairs in the “cross-border region,” which means that talk of increased military activity in the Rostov Region is groundless.
However, it is obvious that such a conclusion could not suit the representatives of the “war party” in the Ukrainian leadership. Responding to this report, the Ukrainian side has predictably engaged in unseemly attempts to “fine tune” the objective conclusions by the inspectors in order to meet the “current needs.” Otherwise, it would be impossible to explain why the press office of the Ukrainian Army’s General Staff accused the Russian media of “falsifying the confirmation by the Ukrainian side of the absence of activity by Russian army units in the region.” The Ukrainian side said that it reserves the right to believe that “military activities could have taken place” in locations that were not visited by the Ukrainian group. The fact that this statement by the Ukrainian press office pursues purely political objectives is obvious, and does not require extensive commentary. That said, the Foreign Ministry calls attention to Kiev’s intention to include these groundless claims into the official report on the inspection results, which is expected to be released late in February. Consequently, we could see the same situation as last year, when a Ukrainian group conducted an inspection in the Belgorod Region and announced that there was no military activity in the region, while the official report contained Ukraine’s groundless and farfetched claims regarding the activities of Russia’s Armed Forces.
It is necessary to remind Ukraine once again that inspections conducted in accordance with the Vienna Document should be based on an impartial assessment of that which the participants of the inspection group see with their own eyes, not backdated assumptions and fabrications inserted into the report by political leaders.
February 19, 2015