US calls Crimea militarization a threat to overall security

And about. US Permanent Representative to the UN Richard Mills, speaking at the General Assembly debate on the situation in Ukraine, urged the organization’s members to vote for resolutions that draw attention to the human rights situation and the militarization of Crimea.

Mills pledged that the United States, together with partners, will continue to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and will never recognize Russia’s attempt to annex Crimea.

The diplomat expressed concern about reports that over the past year “Russia has intensified its efforts to destabilize Ukraine and undermine the country’s sovereignty.”

“By keeping troops, tanks and heavy weapons on Ukrainian territory, Russia is falsely positioning itself as a mediator in the conflict, when in fact it is its instigator,” Mills said. “Russia’s increased militarization of Crimea is a serious and growing threat to our common security. The United States is deeply concerned that Russia is conscripting Crimeans into military service, continues to undermine trade in the Sea of ​​Azov, and is trying to use its occupation of Crimea to project power in the Black Sea region. ”

“There is no doubt that Russia continues to fuel this devastating conflict,” Mills said, noting that despite the ceasefire reached last July, Russian-backed forces continue to carry out attacks that result in the death of Ukrainian troops and endanger the lives of civilians.

The United States also expresses concern about restrictions on the access of humanitarian workers and OSCE monitors to areas controlled by these forces.

Mills called on Russia to release the more than 100 Ukrainian political prisoners it is holding and to end the oppression of Crimean Tatars, Jehovah’s Witnesses and other opponents of the occupation.

“We demand and ask that Russia immediately stop its aggressive behavior in the east of Ukraine and put an end to the occupation of Crimea. We call on Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine, end support for its puppets and other armed groups, and fulfill all obligations under the Minsk agreements. Russia should end its intimidation tactics and instead work with the Ukrainian government and international partners committed to a diplomatic solution to this conflict, ”Mills said.

“Ukraine’s commitment to peace is obvious. The United States welcomes Ukraine’s Crimean Platform initiative and hopes many other member states will consider joining these diplomatic efforts to counter Russia’s ongoing aggression and make it clear that its brutal occupation must end, ”he concluded.

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