Statement of the delegation of Ukraine at the UN Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria

Statement of the delegation of Ukraine at the UN Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria

(25 September 2016)

We thank delegations of US, UK and France for their initiative to hold this briefing and the New Zealand Presidency for promptly responding to the request to arrange a Council meeting.

We are also grateful to the Special Representative Steffan De Mistura for his candid assessment of the situation on the ground.

Mr. President,

The latest turn of events is extremely disturbing, especially on the heels of the last week’s high-level meeting on Syria in this very chamber.

We condemn the decision of Damascus and its allies to stage an offensive against Eastern Aleppo. This is a flagrant violation of all the UN Security Council resolutions and the latest Geneva arrangements.

Ukraine is not privy to all the details of latest rounds of negotiations between all involved parties on the Syrian issue. However, at this point it appears irrelevant that all or some resolutions, agreements, arrangements whatever, are violated.

It does not matter because the actions of the Syrian regime and its allies go against a very core of the humanitarian international law, they violate every fundamental principal of human decency. It is as if the subject of today’s discussion is moved to the sphere beyond good and evil, the sphere where the only thing that matters is that someone’s will prevails, at any cost, no matter the consequences.

Is this the state of affairs that this Council is prepared to accept as a fact of life? Or is it something the Council can finally muster the courage to counter? The latter being dependent, of course, on political will of just a couple of Council members.

Mr. President,

More than 200 civilians killed and 300 wounded in the 48 hours of sustained aerial and ground bombing of besieged Eastern Aleppo starting Thursday speaks volumes on the true intentions of Bashar Al-Assad and his Russian allies. And there is no doubt that these casualty numbers are not final.

We agree with Secretary General’s yesterday comments on the situation in Syria, we are also appalled by the chilling military escalation in Aleppo.

The statement of the Syrian delegation at the UNGA that the “victory was ‘even greater’ because the Syrian army was progressing in the war against terrorism” appears particularly cynical and revealing.

Available information on the use of the incendiary weapons and advanced munitions such as bunker buster bombs in the ongoing fighting around Aleppo casts a stronger light on the destructive Russian involvement.

Throughout the year the Ukrainian delegation repeatedly voiced reservations and doubts about a true nature of the Russian involvement in the Syrian conflict. Repeatedly we have been proven right. Which, by the way, does not make us happy. In this case we would have been delighted to have erred.

I am not going to repeat what we have said on numerous occasions. I will say just this — any hopes on reaching a workable arrangement with Russia and the Assad regime at this moment are misplaced. As long as these two parties are resolutely bound to a military solution, any pause in the fighting, any ceasefire agreement, any political hesitance or unwarranted benefit of the doubt will be mercilessly exploited by hawks in Damascus and Moscow to improve their military positions and to strengthen their negotiation positions.

Let us also convey a clear message to those planning the retake of Eastern Aleppo — the idea that a regime victory would lead to an enforced stability in Syria is a dangerous fantasy. Realization of the so-called “Grozny scenario” in Syria is not possible and not sustainable. There are no prospects for a military solution in this country if the recent history is any guide. Those who think otherwise will have to face consequences of their actions on the battlefield and international arena alike.

Thank you.