Statement by Mr. Sergii Shutenko, Director General for International Security of the MFA of Ukraine, at the Sixth Review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy

Statement by Mr. Sergii Shutenko, Director General for International Security of the MFA of Ukraine, at the Sixth Review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy

Mr. Chairman,

Distinguished delegates,

While fully aligning with the statement delivered by the European Union later today, I would like to make the following comments on the subject.

At the outset let me join the previous speakers in commending the dedicated efforts of Jordan and Finland as Co-Facilitators for The Sixth Review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (GCTS) to produce a best deal possible for reaching a consensus on the matter. We welcome the adoption of the resolution today, which reflects the recent developments in fostering counterterrorism architecture and offers ways to enhance implementation of Member States’ obligations under all 4 pillars of the Strategy.

At the same time, we regret that despite the intensive negotiations a number of important elements, in particular related to the civil society engagement, the role of women and youth in counterterrorism efforts were partially included into the document at the end.

Up to date the GCTS remains a milestone framework for international efforts in the field of countering terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including through tackling the root causes and conditions conducive to the spread of this phenomenon. Terrorism and violent extremism have become major challenges to international peace and security, threatening our core values and principles, including human rights, the rule of law, democracy, equal opportunity and freedom.

The Sixth Review of the GCTS is taking place against the background of the continuously evolving threats and trends in international terrorism. Moreover, there have been several confirmed cases of the use of chemical weapons by ISIL, which means that terrorists acquiring a WMD is not a hypothetical scenario anymore.

On the other hand, the current momentum is also an opportunity for taking stock of all the achievements and new counterterrorism tools which were developed in 2016–2017. It is fitting that during the past two years such issues as combating financing of terrorism, depriving terrorists of weapons supplies, prevention of violent extremism, returning of foreign terrorist-fighters from conflict zones, suppressing the terrorist propaganda, protection of critical infrastructure, strengthening aviation security, to name a few, have been put high on the global agenda.

In addition, since the Fifth Review of the GCTS the reforming process of the United Nations counterterrorism architecture has been launched with a view to enhance coordination and coherence among the relevant entities.

Mr. Chairman,

In today’s UNGA resolution we reconfirmed once again our respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence and unity of all States in accordance with purposes and principles of the UN Charter. We urge all Member States fully observe those fundamental principles and to follow their commitments under the GCTS.

We also reaffirmed that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed. In this regard combatting a growing proliferation of states-sponsored terrorism is essential for the success of the global counter-terrorism efforts.

I cannot but mention that this particular issue continues to be of a high importance for my country.

For more than 4 years Russia employs a broad range of hybrid warfare techniques to promote ideology of the so-called Russian world, which implies an exclusive role for the Russian Federation in internal affairs of a number of sovereign states, including Ukraine. The Russian ideology not only tolerates, but encourages violation of international law and perpetration of the most serious crimes, including terrorist acts. Fierce, deceitful propaganda disseminated by the state-controlled Russian media is one of the key elements of the ongoing hybrid aggression against my country.

Being guided by this ideology as well as under direct support of Russia, the deadly terrorist attacks have been carried out in many Ukrainian cities. The shocking reality is that foreign terrorist fighters, primarily from Russia, constitute a significant part of the approximately 40,000-strong illegal armed group, fighting against the Government of Ukraine in the Donbas.

The reports of the OSCE SMM and the UN Human Rights Mission in Ukraine confirm the continuous inflow of ammunition, weaponry and fighters from the Russian Federation into the occupied territories of Ukraine.

Moreover, the Russian media and nationalist circles glorify the Russian terrorist fighters as they depart to Ukraine and return back, instead of being prosecuted.

I wish to recall that, on the 24th of May 2018, the Joint Investigation Team (“JIT”) examining the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 determined that the Buk missile system which downed the civil plane, was transferred to illegal armed groups in the Donetsk region of Ukraine by the Russian 53 rd Anti-Aircraft Military Brigade through the uncontrolled segment of the State border.

With this and other Russian support, these groups attacked MH17, taking nearly 300 innocent lives; unleashed deadly barrages of rocket fire on Ukrainian cities, including the assaults on a checkpoint near Volnovakha and residential neighborhoods in Kramatorsk, Mariupol and Avdiivka; and planted bombs that have ripped through patriotic marches, popular public places and other peaceful locations.

The terrible terrorist acts and all the crimes against humanity must be resolutely condemned and punished. The sanctions imposed on the aggressor-state should be maintained and strengthened. The perpetrators must be brought to justice.

Therefore, on the 12th of June 2018 Ukraine submitted its Memorial to the International Court of Justice (“ICJ”) documenting serious violations of international law by the Russian Federation. The Memorial, accompanied by voluminous evidence, establishes that the Russian Federation has violated the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (“Terrorism Financing Convention“) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (‘CERD’).

Ukraine’s Memorial catalogs Russia’s brazen and comprehensive assault on human rights and international law in the territory of Ukraine, and the tremendous toll these acts have taken on the Ukrainian people and the whole world. In its Memorial we demand Russia to cease its violations of the Terrorism Financing Convention and the CERD immediately.

Mr. Chairman,

By concluding my intervention, I would like to stress that in recent decades the international community has made remarkable achievements in adopting legally binding instruments on countering terrorism. However, more should be done to ensure their full and uncompromising implementation as well as to put an end to the impunity for the blatant violations of international law.

I thank you.