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On Kyiv Embassy Attack, Lithuania Links to Downed Plane, But Not at Stakeout

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 17, more here -- After the UN Security Council met on June 16 about Ukraine, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin came to the UN Television stakeout and said that it was Lithuania which blocked the proposed press statement about the attack on its embassy in Kyiv and Ukraine's duties under the Vienna Convention.

  As Inner City Press reported, Churkin also spoke to proposals to link condemnation the embassy attack to a statement on the plane downing near Luhansk.

   Lithuania's foreign ministry tweeted to Inner City Press that its Mission to the UN "asked for a statement condemning the downing of Ukrainian [Army transport] plane by armed insurgents which cost 49 lives. Blocking? No way."

  The explanation is appreciated, as have been Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius' responses. But the Free UN Coalition for Access believes that Lithuania's Mission to the UN should have followed -- or it is wished preceded -- Churkin to the stakeout and stated its position on record.

  This is not a one-time occurrence. As Inner City Press (and FUNCA) pointed out earlier this year, during Lithuania's month as Security Council president they did few, very few, stakeouts even after closed-door consultations. After the review, it was said that this would change as Lithuania gained more experience on the Council.

 On that, until now it has been said that the Security Council condemns attacks on diplomats and diplomatic facilities, like terrorism, without attempting to link them to stated underlying causes. So it would still be good for Lithuania's mission to speak to this on the record.

  At work in all this is the non-identity of particular diplomats with the country they represent. Inner City Press strives to distinguish the two -- the upcoming departure of French PR Gerard Araud will present an opportunity, possibly brief -- and so once again notes: hearing more rather than less on the record is always better.

 Here's an example from yesterday, about grenades in Syria.

Earlier on June 16 Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq about it the attack on Russia's embassy in Kyiv. Video here.

  Haq replied, "certainly we are concerned about the efforts on the ground that have led to greater violence," then referred again to "Eastern Ukraine."

  Inner City Press pointed out that the embassy attacked is not in the East, but in the capital.

  Haq replied that Ban's "statement was designed to stress the main root of the problem."  Video here.

   So, Inner City Press asked, is the UN saying that attacks on some embassies are justified? Haq did not answer.

  Meanwhile Journalists Evgeny Davydov and Nikita Konashenkov were detained by Ukraine's National Guard at the Dnepropetrovsk airport in the Donetsky region, in what is becoming a pattern, on June 14. 

 In this they are at least luckier than Italian journalist Andrea Rocchelli and his interpreter Andrey Mironov, both killed in May in the run up to the election.

  With the UN Security Council yet to issue its usual boilerplate press statement citing the Vienna Convention after the attack on Russia's embassy in Kyiv, any statement on the detention of these journalists seem even more UNlikely.

  When the UN Security Council met after the election, Lithuania's Ambassador cited the killed young Italian journalist without mentioning (Russian) Mironov, nor that authorities killed both of them. While others might take this approach, at the UN the Free UN Coalition for Access says journalists are journalists, just as civilians are civilians.

  On that, it's similar to the reaction of some to Ukraine's air force bombing Luhansk, click here for more on that.

    Back on May 25 amid voting in Ukraine, Italian journalist Andrea Rocchelli and his interpreter Andrey Mironov were found dead near the village of Andreevka outside Slavyansk on May 25.

  Rocchelli had been taking photographs, for example of children seeking protection from shelling in a basement in Slavyansk's Cherevkovka neighborhood.

  Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini confirmed the deaths; another photographer who was traveling with Rocchelli and Mironov said they were hit by mortar fire as they were taking shelter in a roadside ditch; it's reported the journalists came under shelling from Ukrainian troops late on May 24.

   If this happened say in Syria, what would the reaction be? What will the reaction be now?

  On May 23 when Ukraine's Permanent Representative to the UN Yuriy Sergeyev held a press conference two days before the elections, Inner City Press asked about the “UN” painted helicopters shown by LifeNews as being in Ukraine, and about the two LifeNews journalists then detained.

  Sergeyev said he contacted his government's defense department and was assured that helicopters that serve for pay in UN peacekeeping mission returned painted white but with the UN insignia “erased.” He said the filming was not in Ukraine.

  Inner City Press asked if it was in a UN peacekeeping mission why the soldiers around the copter were in camouflage and not UN blue helmets. This has not been answered.

  On the LifeNews journalists, Sergeyev said they had confessed to not being “pure journalists” and had revealed Ukraine military positions.

  Inner City Press asked if that wasn't always a possible charge of war reporters. It might also be asked which others detained while engaged in acts of journalism, sometimes, are not “pure journalists.”

  The Free UN Coalition for Access supports these journalists and continued to ask about their fate, as it asked the UN's Ivan Simonovic in late May.

  The two were later released, and have said they were held with sacks over their heads, arms and legs tied.

  On a second round of questions on May 23, Inner City Press asked about the four or five investigations of the May 2 murders in Odessa that Simonovic had described. Sergeyev said Simonovic must have been referring to four or five versions of events, because there are only Ukrainian investigations.

  Inner City Press at the day's noon briefing asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric how many investigations of Odessa there are, and if one involving the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons is being considered.

  And so far from the UN, nothing on the detention of journalists Evgeny Davydov and Nikita Konashenkov. Watch this site.


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