Statement by Germany and France on the occasion of the meeting of OSCE participating States under the Vienna Document Article 16 on unusual military activities on the Ukrainian-Russian border, at the invitation of Ukraine in Vienna on 10 April 2021
For several days, we as well as other partners have been observing large-scale Russian troop movements on the border with Ukraine.
Such activities near the border are always a cause for concern.
On our part, but especially on the part of Ukraine, this concern can be defused if appropriate explanations are provided. Chapter III of the Vienna Document was especially created for this purpose.
It aims at reducing risks and clarifying possible misunderstandings. As stated in the document, it provides a "mechanism for consultation and cooperation in case of unusual military activities".
Ukraine is fully justified in initiating this mechanism in light of Russian troop movements, and it has the full support of Germany and France in its actions.
We regret that the Russian response to the questions raised by Ukraine did not satisfy the need for information. Russia did not respond . It merely stated that : "All activities conducted by [its] armed forces and related to the movement of military units within the CSBM area application were conducted in the course of combat training and did not require notification".
We also regret that Russia is not attending today’s meeting and is missing another opportunity to explain its actions.
We would therefore like to take the opportunity of today’s meeting to pose our questions to the Russian side.
Germany and France would like to reiterate their unwavering support for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.
We would like to encourage Russia to make use of the consultation mechanisms provided for in the OSCE and the Vienna Document, which also Russia agreed to, and to work constructively and in the spirit of Helsinki with the OSCE participating States concerned.
We therefore call upon Russia to reconsider its approach and commit in good faith to live up to its political-military commitments towards the OSCE.
Both of our countries are pursuing their efforts, within the Normandie Format, in view of the full implementation of the Minsk agreements and negotiations are continuing to that aim. Be assured that France and Germany’s commitment shall not falter.
To conclude, we support the OSCE chairpersonship in its task to take into account all the participating States interventions today and reflecting them into a dedicated report. Germany and France reaffirm their readiness to continue consultations based on the upcoming report and within the relevant provisions of the Vienna Document.