On 16 July, the Council was briefed on the situation in Ukraine by Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo and OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Lamberto Zannier. Russia requested the meeting to discuss the recently enacted Ukrainian language law which formally took effect on that same day. In his briefing Zannier focused primarily on the language law and noted that Ukraine’s sovereign right to strengthen the role of state language should be balanced with efforts to accommodate the ethnic and linguistic diversity of the country. In addition to the law, DiCarlo addressed the broader political situation in the country and issues related to implementation of the Minsk agreements. Russia emphasised the dangers posed by the language law while other speakers, mostly the EU members of the Council, stressed that the law does not pose a threat to international peace and security. These members used this opportunity to raise other issues including the political and security situation and the investigation into the downing of MH17.
On 20 May, the Council met on Ukraine at the request of Russia because of concerns regarding a recently enacted Ukrainian language law that Russia said ran counter to the spirit of the 2015 Minsk agreements and resolution 2202. Several delegations objected to holding the meeting on the issue, and a procedural vote took place. The meeting was not held, as the proposal failed to garner the required nine votes in favour. Five Council members voted in favour of holding the meeting (China, the Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Russia and South Africa), six voted against (Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, the UK, and the US), and four abstained (Côte d’Ivoire, Indonesia, Kuwait and Peru). General view among those members voting against the meeting was that it was not timely to discuss such an issue given that Ukraine was inaugurating its new president that day and that most members did not have enough time to examine the language law. Russia emphasised the threat posed by the new law, for the Russian speaking population in Ukraine.
On 25 April, the Council was briefed on the situation in Ukraine (S/PV.8516). Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Ursula Mueller, Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission Ertuğrul Apakan, and Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Martin Sajdik provided the briefings. (Apakan and Sajdik participated via video-teleconference.)
On 15 March, Arria-formula meeting entitled: “A symbolic date: Fifth anniversary of the beginning of Russia’s occupation of Crimea: A blatant violation of international law” was held. The meeting was organised by Council members Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, the UK, and the US, in partnership with Ukraine. The meeting provided an opportunity to hear first-hand accounts from civil society and experts on the latest developments with regard to Crimea. Briefers during the meeting included Sergiy Kyslytsya, Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine; Alim Aliev, Program Director of Crimean House; Ayla Bakkali, executive member of the World Congress of Crimean Tatars; and Ahtem Chyihoz, Vice Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar.
On 12 February, the Council held a meeting on the situation in Ukraine. Russia requested the meeting to mark the anniversary of the “Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements”, also known as the Minsk II agreement, adopted on 12 February 2015. Assistant Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Miroslav Jenča; Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Ursula Mueller; Chief Monitor of OSCE Special SMM Ertuğrul Apakan; and Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Martin Sajdik briefed. The discussion was marked by the longstanding divisions among permanent members of the Council on this issue. Russia accused Ukraine of not adhering to the Minsk agreements and escalating tensions in eastern Ukraine. On the other hand, the US and the EU members of the Council emphasised the Russian role in the conflict and its violations of the international law. The members agreed on the importance of upholding the Minsk agreements and the need to implement all its provisions.
On 26 November, the Council held an emergency meeting, requested by Ukraine, on the situation in Ukraine after Russia captured three Ukranian vessels in the Kerch Strait (S/PV.8409). The Council first held a procedural vote on the provisional agenda item put forward by Russia “Maintenance of international peace and security: Violation of the borders of the Russian Federation”. The agenda item was rejected by a vote of seven against, four abstentions and four in favor. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo briefed on the events of 25 November. Although she said that the UN could not independently verify the circumstances surrounding the incident, she expressed concern over rising tensions. The US and the EU members of the Council strongly condemned the escalation of tensions and violation of international law by Russia in the Sea of Azov. Russia accused Ukraine of provoking the incident for political reasons.
On 6 June, the Council adopted a presidential statement on the situation in Ukraine. This is the first formal Council outcome since 17 February 2015, when it adopted resolution 2202 endorsing the Minsk agreements. The statement expressed concern over the worsening security situation in eastern Ukraine and condemned continuous violations of the ceasefire, including the use of heavy weapons. It expressed support for the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission; called on all parties to facilitate its work; and emphasised the need for full compliance with resolution 2202. The Council also reaffirmed its full support for resolution 2166 on the downing of flight MH17.
On 29 May, the Council held a briefing on the situation in Ukraine chaired by Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz. Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin delivered statements at the meeting. The Council was briefed by the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo; Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock; and Ertuğrul Apakan, the Chief Monitor of the Organization for Security and Cooperation Special Monitoring Mission via video teleconference. All three briefers voiced their concerns about the recent surge of violence and dire humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine. These issues were also raised by the Council members. In his statement, Blok drew the Council’s attention to recent findings by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) on the downing of flight MH17. He said that both the Netherlands and Australia hold Russia accountable for the incident, and he called on Russia to accept its responsibility and cooperate in the process to achieve justice for the victims. Russia denied these allegations and said that evidence does not exist to support the findings of the JIT.
On 15 March, Council members held an Arria-formula meeting (open to media and wider UN membership) on the Crimea, which was organised by the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, the UK and the US, in partnership with the Ukraine. The meeting, which came at the fourth anniversary of the Russia annexation of Crimea, focused on the role and limits of the Council and good offices of the Secretary-General in addressing violations of the UN Charter and international law. Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Olena Zerkal and a representative of the Crimean Tatars, Ayla Bakkalli, provided briefings. In addition to the briefers and members of the Council, Germany and the EU delivered statements as parties with an interest in the issue. Ambassador Olof Skoog (Sweden) provided opening remarks, and Ambassador Joanna Wronecka (Poland) gave closing remarks.
On 2 February, the Council held a meeting on the situation in Ukraine, requested by Ukraine itself following the recent spike in fighting in the Donetsk region. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman briefed on the political situation in the country. The Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan, updated the Council on OSCE-related activities and ceasefire violations arising from the recent surge in fighting. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien informed the Council of the grave humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine.
On 11 August, Council members held consultations on the situation in Ukraine at the initiative of the Ukrainian delegation. Ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko (Ukraine) briefed Council members on rising tensions between Ukraine and Russia over the alleged acts of sabotage and terrorism in Crimea committed by Ukrainian forces. Yelchenko denied the accusations made by Russia while blaming Russia for its attempt to escalate the tensions in eastern Ukraine. Russia condemned Ukraine for alleged offensive actions and for obstructing the Minsk agreement. Yelchenko noted that Ukraine would initiate another meeting on Ukraine, with briefers from the OSCE and DPA, if the situation on the ground deteriorated.
On 28 April, the Council held a meeting on the situation in Ukraine with briefings from Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson and Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission Ertugrul Apakan (via video teleconference). Martin Sajdik, the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group also briefed. The discussion focused on the implementation of the Minsk Agreements and overall security situation in eastern Ukraine.
On 18 March, Ukraine organised an Arria-formula meeting on the human rights situation in Crimea. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, Commissioner of the President of Ukraine for the Affairs of Crimean Tatars Mustafa Dzhemilev, head of the Board of the Human Rights Information Centre Tetiana Pechonchyk and head of the Crimea Human Rights Group Olga Skrypnyk briefed. Mark Lagon, the President of Freedom House, moderated the discussion that followed.
On 11 December, the Council met on the situation in Ukraine at the request of Lithuania, who was represented by its foreign minister. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson briefed along with the head of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, Ertugrul Apakan (via video teleconference); Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Ŝimonović; and OCHA official John Ging. The foreign Minister of Ukraine also participated.
On 20 July, at the request of Russia, Council members held consultations on the flight MH17 investigation and follow-up on resolution 2166. During the consultations, Russia presented a draft resolution calling for a greater role for the Secretary-General as well as International Civil Aviation Organization in the investigation of the crash. This was a draft competing with what Malaysia had already raised on 2 July, under “any other business”, for the Council to establish a tribunal for prosecution of those responsible the downing of flight MH17. On 29 July, the Council held a vote on the draft resolution (S/2015/562) presented by Malaysia. Russia vetoed the draft resolution, preventing the creation of the tribunal. Angola, China and Venezuela abstained.
On 5 June, the Council was briefed on the situation in Ukraine by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman and the Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, Alexander Hug. Lithuania requested the meeting following the significant increase in violence in the Donetsk region in the town of Marinka. Feltman updated the Council on the Secretary-General’s visits to Ukraine and Russia as well as the humanitarian situation in Ukraine. Hug briefed the Council on violations and the current state of the implementation of the Minsk package of measures adopted on 12 February.
On 6 March, the Council held a briefing on the political, humanitarian and human rights situation in Ukraine with briefings by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, OCHA official John Ging and Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović. On 19 March, Lithuania organised an Arria-formula meeting on the human rights situation, media freedom and the situation of national minorities in Crimea and in eastern Ukraine. At this meeting Council members heard from Mustafa Dzhemilev, a leader in the Crimean Tatar National Movement and member of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, and Andrey Zubarev, a representative of the Crimean Field Mission on Human Rights—a joint initiative of Ukraine, Russia and other CIS countries’ civil society organisations monitoring the human rights situation in Crimea.
On 17 February, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2202 that had been drafted by Russia (S/PV.7384). The resolution called on all parties to implement the 12 February measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements. The same day, Council members also issued a press statement calling on all parties to adhere to the commitment made in Minsk and allow the OSCE to monitor and verify compliance with the Minsk agreements, language that the P3 and Lithuania had tried to include in the resolution during the negotiations but which Russia declined. On 27 February the Council held a briefing on the situation in Ukraine followed by an informal interactive dialogue. The Council was briefed (via video teleconference) by the Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan (Turkey), and the Chair of the OSCE’s Trilateral Contact Group, Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini (Switzerland) on the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
On 13 January, Council members issued a press statement condemning the killing of 11 civilians as a result of the shelling of a passenger bus in Volnovakha (SC/11733) and another press statement on 22 January condemned the killing of 15 civilians as a result of the shelling of a public transport stop in Donetsk (SC/11749). On 21 January, the Council held a meeting on Ukraine—the first in over two months—and was briefed by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman on the recent escalation of violence in eastern Ukraine and violations of the Minsk agreement (S/PV.7365). On 26 January, Feltman briefed the Council again on the further deterioration of the situation in the east and the growing number of civilian causalities in the Ukraine conflict (S/PV.7368).
On 12 November, the Council held a public meeting on the situation in Ukraine following reports of renewed violence in the east and concerns about violations of the Minsk Agreement (S/PV.7311). The Council was briefed by Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs; Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan, Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine; and Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini, representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office.
On 3 October, Council members issued a press statement condemning the killing of an ICRC staff member in Ukraine (SC/11588). On 24 October, the Council was briefed by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco and Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Šimonović on the political and human rights situation in Ukraine, respectively (S/PV.7287).
On 19 September, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman briefed the Council on the Dutch Safety Board’s preliminary investigation report on the downing of flight MH17, transmitted to the Council by the Netherlands on 9 September (S/PV.7269). The report said the crash of flight MH17 could be attributed to impact by a large number of high-energy objects. However, the report did not specify responsibility for downing the plane.
On 5 August the Security Council held a public meeting on the situation in Ukraine with a briefing by John Ging, Director of the Coordination and Response at the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. On 8 August, Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, briefed the Council (via video-teleconference) on the human rights situation and the latest UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission Report. On 18 August, Ukraine was discussed under “any other business”; Russia requested an update regarding the implementation of resolution 2166 on the downing of Malaysia Airline flight 17. On 22 August, following the entrance of the Russian humanitarian convoy to Ukraine, Council members held consultations at the request of Lithuania. Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernández-Taranco briefed at both the 18 and 22 August meetings.
On 18 July, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman briefed the Council at an emergency session following the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17. The same day Council members issued a press statement expressing condolences to the families of those killed and calling for a thorough and independent international investigation. On 21 July, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2166, which condemned the downing of flight 17 and called for an investigation of the crash.
On 2 June, Russia called for consultations on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine. At that meeting Council members agreed to ask humanitarian chief Valerie Amos to brief, she did so on 16 June. On 17 June, the Council issued a press statement condemning the killing of two Russian journalists that day in Ukraine, marking the first statement Council members agreed to since the crisis began. On 24 June, the Council was briefed by Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović and Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Tayé-Brook Zerihoun. Šimonović briefed on the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission and Zerihoun briefed on the ceasefire and peace plan proposed by President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine.
In May, the Council met three times to discuss Ukraine. On 2 May, Russia called an emergency session on the political situation at which Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman briefed and a representative of Ukraine, Oleksandr Pavlichenko, also addressed the Council. During the meeting Russia proposed a presidential statement condemning the violence and calling on the de-escalation of tensions. Since the Council could not agree on mutually acceptable language, no statement was adopted. On 21 May, the UK requested consultations on the human rights situation in Ukraine with Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović briefing and Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernández-Taranco briefing on the latest political developments. Following presidential elections in Ukraine, Feltman briefed the Council on 28 May and the permanent representative of Ukraine also made a statement.
The Council met three times in April at a time of intensified political unrest in Ukraine. On 13 April, upon the request of Russia, the Council held a public meeting and was briefed by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernández-Taranco on the latest developments in eastern Ukraine. On 16 April, Lithuania requested a meeting on the human rights situation there and the Council was briefed by Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović who shared findings from his two visits in March to Ukraine. On 29 April, following a request by the UK, the Council was briefed by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman on developments.
The Council met repeatedly in March to keep abreast of developments in Ukraine. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson briefed on 1 March, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernández-Taranco on 3 March and consultations were held on 6 March with Eliasson briefing again. The referendum, and attempts by the UN and others to find a diplomatic solution, was the focus of the briefings by Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman on 10 and 13 March. On 15 March, the Council held a vote on a draft resolution proposed by the US that reaffirmed the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine, noted that Ukraine had not authorised the referendum and that it had no validity. Russia was able to veto the Chapter VI draft resolution as no challenges were raised as to whether or not it had to abstain as a party to a dispute, as envisaged in Article 27(3) of the UN Charter. China abstained. The Council was once again briefed by Eliasson on 19 March alongside Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Šimonović, who had just returned from a 7-18 March visit to Ukraine. On 21-22 March, Šimonović was allowed to visit Crimea to lay the groundwork for a UN human rights monitoring mission there.