I join my other colleagues in expressing our appreciation to Mr. Jeffrey Feltman and Mr. Alexander Hug for their comprehensive briefings.
2. Malaysia is greatly alarmed by recent escalation in fighting in eastern Ukraine. We have heard from the briefers on the gravity of the recent situation – the worst since the signing of the Minsk agreement in February.
3. We join other Council members in strongly urging all parties to fully comply with the provisions of the Minsk agreement, as stipulated in Security Council Resolution 2202.
4. We also call on the parties to cooperate fully with the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to enable them to carry out their mandate, as laid down in the Minsk agreement.
5. Malaysia welcomes the progress made so far in the implementation of the Minsk agreement. Until very recently, the ceasefire has generally been respected, despite incidents of low-key and sporadic fighting. We note that both sides withdrew heavy weapons in the early months after the signing of the Minsk agreement.
6. We welcome and commend the establishment of four Working Groups in the context of the Trilateral Contact Group, focusing on political, security, economic and humanitarian issues.
7. On a related note, I wish to highlight that the overall improvement in the security situation between March and April due to the ceasefire, has allowed for the return of an international team, including Malaysia, to complete the recovery mission for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.
8. We regret the fact that it took the Malaysian recovery team almost one year since the downing of the aircraft to be able to enter the crash site, due to ongoing fighting in eastern Ukraine. As our team managed to collect more remains and belongings of the victims of MH17 recently, it provided us with a grim reminder of the tragic humanitarian costs of the conflict in Ukraine.
9. As we have heard from the briefers, whatever progress made in implementing the Minsk agreement, they are still far from irreversible. Despite claims by both sides that heavy weapons have been withdrawn, we remain concerned that movements or presence of weapons in violations of the Minsk agreement had been observed by the SMM. Inspections by the SMM on heavy weapons holding areas also found some weapons missing or unaccounted for.
10. With the latest clashes in Marinka, the Minsk agreement is in a real danger of unraveling. The civilian population, particularly children, would undoubtedly bear the biggest brunt if the situation escalates.
11. It is heart wrenching to learn that up to 15 May, over 160,000 children have been internally displaced in eastern Ukraine. 68 children were killed, and close to 200 were injured. Children continue to live with their families in bomb shelters, be internally displaced, and deprived of basic necessities such as water and healthcare.
12. We would remind all parties of their obligations under international law and international humanitarian law, particularly on the protection of civilians. We also urge all parties to allow safe and unrestricted humanitarian access to those in need.
13. In concluding, the parties to the conflict must take a step back from the spiralling violence in Ukraine, and re-commit themselves to the full implementation of the Minsk agreement.
We reiterate our commitment to a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Ukraine, based on the principles of the UN Charter, including respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. We appeal to the conflicting parties not to lose the opportunity for peace once again.