Thursday

20th Jun 2019

Letter

Ambassador: Ukraine wronged by EUobserver op-ed

  • EUobserver has the reputation of an unbiased independent media but a recent op-ed did not meet this criteria, Ukraine ambassador writes (Photo: thisisbossi)

EUobserver has the reputation of an unbiased independent media with its articles being trusted and respected for the high standards of accuracy and impartiality.

However, I am afraid that the op-ed by Mr Sukhov does not meet this criteria.

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Mr Sukhov has a right to express his own opinion on the electoral process in Ukraine but he should not obviously mislead the readers of EUobserver regarding the outcome of this process.

Ukraine has invited international observers from every respected and experienced international organisation, including the OSCE/ODIHR, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Pace, European Parliament, Nato Parliamentary Assembly, etc, to monitor the electoral process in our country.

They deploy observer delegations, make conclusions on the electoral process, and assess the election for its compliance with OSCE commitments and other international obligations and standards for democratic elections, as well as with national legislation.

Ukraine considers international election observation as an important element of transparent electoral process in accordance with international principles for genuine democratic elections and democratic development, including respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Therefore, Ukraine has invited more than 1,000 international observers – unprecedented number which clearly demonstrated the eagerness of my country to provide as transparent and fair observation process as possible. 139 Ukrainian non-governmental organisations are also registered as observers.

All those figures testify to the perception that upcoming elections will be one of the most transparent and fair in the newest Ukrainian history.

The OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission started its work in Ukraine on 6 February 2019. Its observers are closely monitoring campaign activities, work of the election administration and relevant governmental bodies, media environment, election-related legislation and its implementation.

I would like to draw your particular attention that there were no statements from Ukraine's international partners or international organisations claiming that the electoral campaign may undermine the reliability of the election results.

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko repeatedly confirmed Ukraine's commitment to ensure free and transparent democratic elections.

According to the recent comment of Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Hugues Mingarelli, the EU has no reason to consider Ukrainian elections not competitive, as in Ukraine, like in any other democratic state, no one knows who will win.

I was also personally indignant to read the author's assumptions that Ukraine may turn "into a Venezuela-style banana republic".

In winter 2013-2014, during the Revolution of Dignity, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian people protected the democratic development of our country, over 100 people paid the highest price and sacrificed their lives.

As of today, Ukraine keeps courageously fighting against the Russian military aggression for its freedom and independence as well as for the respect to the democratic values and international norms. Thousands of Ukrainians have been killed and wounded in this struggle.

Any reference to my country and my fellow compatriots in such a contemptuous way is appalling and unacceptable.

What disturbs me the most is that EUobserver seems to be used to spread the recent Russian narrative on the possible non-recognition of the results of the presidential elections in Ukraine.

It is alarming that it is done just a few days after a bill on non-recognition of the Ukraine's election results was submitted to the Russian State Duma.

With the five-year experience of Russia's hybrid warfare against Ukraine, I can hardly believe that it is a simple coincidence, but not a coordinated campaign.

Monitoring of the activity of Russian media and diplomacy has shown that Kremlin's key messages have been throughly tailored and its special information operations against Ukraine have become more systematic.

Most messages can be broken down into a number of categories, each of them relating to a large narrative, which the Russians are pushing into the global information space.

One of the Russian narrative describes Ukraine as "the failed state", which occasionally coincided with author's assumptions that Ukraine may turn "into a Venezuela-style banana republic".

Recently Russian politicians and media launched another narrative stating that Ukrainian elections will be rigged and therefore manipulation is the only option for the current president of Ukraine to be re-elected. This narrative was also repeated by Mr Sukhov.

Let me assure you that I strongly believe that respect for freedom of expression and freedom of the press are fundamental human rights and an integral part of any democratic society.

But I would kindly ask you not to let EUobserver be used as a tool in Russia's hybrid warfare against Ukraine.

Author bio

Mykola Tochytskyi is Ukraine's ambassador to the EU.

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

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