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You have breached Ukraine’s sovereignty, Kenya tells Russia

United Nations Security Council meets after Russia recognised two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent entities. [Reuters]

Kenya has rejected  Russia's government recognition of the breakaway Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine as independent states.

Kenya, in an urgent United Nations Security Council Meeting on Monday, said although there may be serious security concerns in the regions and Russia cannot justify its recognition of the two regions as independent states when there are multiple diplomatic tracks available and underway that have the ability to offer peaceful solutions.

Through its United Nations Permanent Representative Ambassador Martin Kimani, Kenya said it strongly condemned the trend in the last few decades of powerful states, including members of the Security Council to breach International Law with little regard.

In a heavily worded statement, Kenya said as it is, multilateralism lies on its deathbed.

“It has been assaulted, as it has been by other powerful states in the recent past. We call on all member states to stand behind the Secretary-General in asking him to rally us to the standard of defending multilateralism. We also call on him to bring his good offices to bear to help the concerned parties resolve the situation by peaceful means,” Kimani said.

The urgent meeting had been called for member states to discuss the situation in Ukraine after Russia announced it had recognised the two states as independent states.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said his administration had recognised the two regions as independent states accelerating a crisis the West fears could unleash a major war.

Putin has so far ordered the deployment of troops to the two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine.

His announcement has so far drawn international condemnation and immediate US sanctions aimed at punishing Russia.

According to Reuters, Britain, France and Germany also agreed to respond to Russia's recognition of the breakaway regions with sanctions, and the White House said it would announce further measures today.

Kenya said it reaffirmed its respect for the territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.

“We meet tonight on the brink of a major conflict in Ukraine. The diplomacy we urged on the 17th of February is failing. The territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine stands breached. The Charter of the United Nations continues to wilt under the relentless assault of the powerful,” Kimani said.

He added, “In one moment it is invoked with reverence by the very same countries who then turn their backs on it in pursuit of objectives diametrically opposed to international peace and security.”

Kimani said in the two last meetings on the situation in Ukraine, and the buildup of forces by the Russian Federation, Kenya urged that diplomacy be given a chance.

“Our cry was not heeded, and more importantly, the charter's demand for states to 'settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered' has been profoundly undermined,” he said.

Kimani said the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine has been effected and Kenya is gravely concerned by the announcement made by the Russian Federation to recognise Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine as independent states.

“In our considered view, this action and announcement breach the territorial integrity of Ukraine,” he said.

According to him, Kenya, and almost every African country, was birthed by the ending of the empire.

“Our borders were not of our own drawing. They were drawn in the distant colonial metropoles of London, Paris, and Lisbon with no regard for the ancient nations that they cleaved apart. Today, across the border of every single African country lives our countrymen with whom we share deep historical, cultural and linguistic bonds,” Kimani said.

He said at independence, had African countries chosen to pursue statehood on the basis of ethnic, racial or religious homogeneity, they would still be waging bloody wars these many decades later.

“Instead, we agreed that we would settle for the borders that we inherited. But we would still pursue continental political, economic and legal integration. Rather than form nations that looked ever backwards into history with a dangerous nostalgia, we chose to look forward to a greatness none of our many nations and peoples had ever known,” he said.

Kimani said Kenya believed that all states formed from empires that have collapsed or retreated have many people in them yearning for integration with communities in the neighbouring states. This he said is normal and understandable.

“Kenya rejects such a yearning from being pursued by force... We rejected irredentism and expansionism on any basis, including racial, ethnic, religious or cultural factors. We reject it again today,” he said.