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Five years ago, a terrible tragedy occurred in Odessa, which claimed the lives of 48 people, and more than two hundred citizens sustained injuries of varying severities. Extreme intolerance of dissent, discrimination and cynical violation of the rights and freedoms of those who openly expressed disagreement with the 2014 coup d’état in Ukraine led to a new round of internal confrontation.

For many who stood up to defend their honour and dignity, historical memory, national and cultural identity, these events were the “point of no return”. Further actions of the criminal Kiev regime, which unleashed armed aggression against the Donbass residents, only confirmed the fears of citizens and the reluctance of the new Ukrainian authorities to conduct a peaceful dialogue instead of imposing their own interests and the ideology of hatred.

The events in Odessa have not been properly investigated so far, and the perpetrators, including government officials, who have shown criminal negligence and failed to take action when it was still possible to prevent or minimize the consequences of the tragedy, have not been held to account. A gross non-compliance with the principles humanism, democracy and equality in connection with these events was mentioned by world leaders and representatives of international organizations, including the United Nations, in their statements.

I want to convey my support to the families and friends of the victims, as well as express the hope that justice will be restored and the memory of these dramatic events will help prevent their reoccurrence in the future. May humanitarianism and humanism, mutual respect and legality, as a basis of inter- and intra-State relations, promote mutual understanding and peaceful resolution of any conflict.