Biegun calls Russia greatest threat to security in Europe
Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is the most egregious violation of state sovereignty in all of Europe, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Deputy Secretary Stephen Biegun has said.
“The most egregious violation of sovereignty and territorial integrity within the OSCE area remains Russia’s continued aggression in eastern Ukraine and occupation of Crimea. Since 2014, the conflict has killed over 13,000 Ukrainian citizens and driven more than a million from their homes. Crimean Tatars, ethnic Ukrainians, and others opposed to the occupation face cruel repression,” Biegun said during the 27th OSCE Ministerial Council on Thursday, December 3.
According to him, “Ukraine must remain at the top of our agenda.” “It is unacceptable that the Special Monitoring Mission faces daily harassment and restrictions, largely in Russia-controlled areas. Nobody is deceived by Moscow’s insistence that Ukraine is responsible for the conflict on its territory,” the diplomat said.
He stressed that “Russia’s actions in Ukraine and elsewhere – its flagrant disregard for international law and for the OSCE’s foundational principles – have caused a broad deterioration of the European security environment.” “The United States calls on Russia to implement its Minsk commitments. We will never recognize Russia’s purported annexation of Crimea,” Biegun said.
In addition to direct aggression, Russia is trying to undermine the democratic systems of other countries by using disinformation and other hybrid methods, Biegun said.
“Russia’s use of disinformation and other hybrid methods is an omnipresent challenge to all our countries, as Moscow seeks to undermine the democratic processes of other states,” he said.
He added that Moscow continues to violate the human rights and fundamental freedoms of its people and deployed its forces in Moldova and Georgia without host nation consent.
The 27th OSCE Ministerial Council is being held via videoconference on December 3-4 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. About 40 foreign ministers of the OSCE participating states will summarize the organization’s activities in 2020 and review the security situation in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian regions. Russian aggression against Ukraine is one of the main topics of the meeting.