Nebenzya made this statement during a diplomatic move held by the Russian delegation on December 2. Disguised as an informal consultation meeting of the UN Security Council within the framework of the “Arria Formula”, this event was also attended by a group of pro-Russian militants from the temporary occupied areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, also known as the ORDLO.

“All of a sudden, the truth leapt out”. That was how Oleksiy Arestovych, the spokesman of the Ukrainian delegation at the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG), responded to the Nebenzya statement. In the opinion of Arestovych, the Russian diplomat “was a little bit desperate”. After all, most permanent and non-permanent members of the Security Council condemned this attempt of Russia to legitimize the ORDLO representatives at the United Nations.

Apart from Ukraine, the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, Estonia and Belgium boycotted the event. These are actually all countries-members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) save the Russian Federation that currently form the UN Security Council. Foreign Minister of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba said, “It is an important signal because the OSCE participates in all negotiations that are held within the framework of the TCG”.

The joint press statement on Ukraine by Estonia, the United Kingdom and United States missions to the United Nations in particular reads, “This meeting was a transparent attempt to present a false and misleading narrative regarding the conflict in eastern Ukraine. We strongly reject Russia’s premise that it is acting as a mediator within an internal conflict. Russia is an active participant that trains, arms, and leads armed formations in areas outside of Ukrainian government control, supplementing these proxy forces with military personnel and equipment. It instigated and continues to fuel a conflict which has resulted in approximately 13,000 deaths, appalling human rights abuses, and a deteriorating humanitarian situation for the civilian population”.

The Western diplomats believe that “this event, designed purely to distort the realities of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, served Russian interests alone”.

According to current reports of the press service of the Intelligence Headquarters under the Defense Ministry of Ukraine, the illegal armed formations of separatists in Donbas number as many as 35.5 thousand people. On top of that, three thousand Russian military experts supervise their training and conduct of combat operations.

Reference: UN Security Council meetings according to the “Arria Formula” are informal consultations which are organized by a member or members of the Security Council to exchange views and opinions in a confidential, informal setting. Such format of meetings was named after Venezuelan diplomat Diego Arria who initiated this practice in 1992 when he acted as the representative of Venezuela at the Security Council.

The newspaper Voice of Ukraine