Statement by the Permanent Representative of Ukraine H.E. Mr. Sergiy Kyslytsya at the UN Security Council meeting on humanitarian situation in Ukraine

Statement by the Permanent Representative of Ukraine H.E. Mr. Sergiy Kyslytsya at the UN Security Council meeting on humanitarian situation in Ukraine

Madam President, distinguished members of the Security Council, Mr. Under-Secretary-General, Madam Executive Director,

Twelve days of all-out Russian invasion in Ukraine, including from the territory of Belarus, have brought us on the brink of humanitarian catastrophe of potentially global nature. I would like to thank all countries, who accept the Ukrainian refugees and let other foreign nationals to their territories.

As we have already heard, more than 1.7 million people, mostly women and children, have already fled from the war, unleashed by Russia. In Sachsenhausen in Nazi Germany, in the spring of 1942, an extermination unit was built in the industrial yard, with a crematorium and a neck shot unit, with a gas chamber added in 1943. The SS cynically named this building “Station Z”. "Z" is a letter that Russian Military are putting on their vehicles departing to Ukraine. Some interpret "Z" as "Za pobedu" (for victory). Others - as "Zapad" (West). I would insist it is “Z” for “Zveri” (beasts).

Russia continues to cynically disregard the norms of international humanitarian law during hostilities. Russian troops block numerous attempts of the Ukrainian authorities to evacuate civilians through humanitarian corridors. They deny access of international organizations to provide humanitarian assistance to the most affected places. It is even more appalling that the Russian troops open firing on evacuees and evacuation vehicles, shell the roads allocated for humanitarian corridors.

For instance, they shelled depots with evacuation buses near Mariupol, blew up the railway near Irpin in the Kyiv region to prevent evacuation by train, destroyed the bridge on the way to Volnovakha – all the mentioned were the main routes to evacuate civilians. As it was stated today by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine I quote: “Today, in violation of the previously reached agreements, the Russian Federation yet again disrupted the opening of the humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of the civilian population from the besieged cities of the suburbs of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Donetsk and Kherson regions. Russia's armed forces continue bombing and missile attacks on Kyiv, Mariupol, Volnovakha, Sumy, Mykolaiv, Kharkiv and other cities, towns and villages. This prevents the safe exit of humanitarian convoys carrying Ukrainian and foreign citizens, as well as the delivery of medications and food.” End of quote.

Today the hearings under Ukraine's lawsuit against Russia in genocide case have been commenced at the UN International Court of Justice. As an immediate action, Ukraine appeals to the ICJ to impose the precautionary measures in this case, in order to stop the bloodshed.

We condemn Russia’s unwillingness to implement the UN General Assembly resolution on “Aggression Against Ukraine”, in particular to immediately cease its use of force against Ukraine. First of all, Russia must stop violating the ceasefire arrangements aimed at ensuring rapid, safe and unhindered passage through humanitarian corridors. It must put an end to spreading disinformation and manipulating the lives of civilians. Evacuation through humanitarian corridors is only possible when the ceasefire regime is fully upheld. The Ukrainian side is ready for that.

We also consider as inappropriate any attempts by Moscow to force civilians, both Ukrainian citizens and foreigners, in the besieged cities to flee to the territory of Russia and Belarus, taking into account high probability of provocations, in particular taking those evacuated as hostages or using them by the Russian armed forces as a human shield. It looks especially cynical when European borders are widely open for refugees from Ukraine. And I totally agree with my colleague Nicolas who said that it is total hypocrisy to push Ukrainians to Belarus or to Russia.

Ukraine calls on the Member States to spare no effort in forcing Russia to uphold the ceasefire regime in order to open humanitarian corridors and prevent a large-scale humanitarian catastrophe. Life is very dynamic. And unfortunately, while we are sitting here and discussing our business, another appalling example of Russia’s disregard of its own commitments on humanitarian corridors has taken place just now. According to available information from my capital, Russia has undermined arrangements on humanitarian corridors for tomorrow, that was achieved earlier today.

Despite a route through Poltava being agreed, including with the ICRC, the Russian side has later sent a letter with routes to Russia and Belarus only. I call on the Russian side to reverse to the previously agreed routes to allow both Ukrainian and foreign citizens to leave for Europe. Today more than hundreds of Ukrainian cities and villages, attacked and sieged by the aggressor state are on the verge of a humanitarian disaster: the population does not have an access to drinking water, food, medicine, electricity, heating and other basic necessities. Much of the environmental damage inflicted on Ukraine by the Russian invasion will likely prove irreparable in the near to medium term.

The Chornobyl disaster of 1986 teaches us that the effects of nuclear accidents endure for hundreds and even thousands of years. The CO2 being released as a result of Russia’s scorched-earth tactics will likewise linger in the atmosphere for the long term, compounding the effects on climate of the greenhouse gases already to be found there. So far Ukraine has been one of the guarantors of global food security. Now this status is challenged by the Russian war against Ukraine.

The implications at the global level will be catastrophic. Just a few examples. 55% of sunflower oil exported worldwide come from Ukraine. 60% of Ukrainian agricultural products are exported through seaports. The closure of ports and the sea by the Russian army threatens the global supply chain. It means that defending Ukraine from the Russian aggression also protects the world from hunger.

Given that Russian leadership attempts to conceal real losses and resolutely denies any discussions on the ways to return their soldiers bodies, Ukraine is facing additional threat of the health crisis. We are speaking of the dozens of thousands of bodies decomposing in the fields of Ukraine, bodies of Russian soldiers. In this regard, we call on the ICRC to set up a database of fallen occupiers, prisoners of war on the basis of the Central Investigation Agency of the ICRC as well as to provide assistance in returning their remains to Russia.

According to the Ministry of Education more than 211 Ukrainian schools have been damaged or destroyed by the Russian military forces since the beginning of the invasion. Thousands of Ukrainian children have been deprived from their right to education. According to the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, as of March 6, 34 hospitals were destroyed. The World Health Organization has reported that 6 Ukrainian doctors were killed and 11 wounded as a result of the Russian shellings. Given the threat of bombing and shelling, hospitals and maternity wards have moved their patients to the basements. The country is running low on critical medical supplies.

Therefore, we call on all the UN humanitarian missions to act decisively to respond to the growing humanitarian crisis without delay. Yesterday, occupants completely destroyed the city airport of Vynnytsya. It must be noted that the Assistant Secretary-General - UN Crisis Coordinator for Ukraine Mr. Amin Awad announced that Vynnytsya was prepared to be a main hub for all UN humanitarian missions. Distinguished members of the Security Council, The Russian occupiers are killing Ukrainian children. Consciously and cynically. At least 38 children have been already killed since the Russia’s full-scale armed aggression against Ukraine. More than 70 kids were seriously wounded. Due to the ongoing shelling of civilian infrastructure in many cities, this number may be increasing right now.

Ukraine deeply regrets that more than two thousand citizens of India, China, Turkey, Pakistan and other countries suffer today along with Ukrainians from Russian aggression. The Government of Ukraine is in 24/7 contact with diplomatic missions and consulates of foreign countries to ensure that their citizens can safely return to their countries as soon as possible. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has established an emergency hotline for foreign citizens wishing to leave Ukraine because of the Russian armed aggression. The Ukrainian border guards in cooperation with colleagues from neighboring EU countries and Moldova are doing everything possible to speed up the passage of all refugees from Ukraine and have never created obstacles that would hinder this.

We would like to reiterate that the only root cause of ongoing massive humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, including the situation at the western border of Ukraine, is the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine. Russia bears full responsibility for the killing and injuring of innocent people, destruction of civilian infrastructure, and obstacles for the safe departure of Ukrainians and foreign citizens. The Government of Ukraine works 24/7 to set up the mechanisms for reliable supplies of food, medications and essential commodities throughout the country.

On 2 March, President Zelenskyy established the Coordination Office on Humanitarian and Social Issues. Ukraine has received more than 3,500 tons of humanitarian aid and we are grateful to our partners for this manifestation of support. Despite enemy attacks, all systems ensuring the proper functioning of the state are intact. There is undeniable stability in the work of the Ukrainian Government. Despite the war, Ministry of Social Policy and Pension Fund have paid all pensions to almost 13 million retired citizens in Ukraine. The Government prepared an assistance program for all Ukrainians who have lost their jobs as a result of war. Private businesses and employees, who lost jobs due to war will receive financial support in March.

Ukrainian Railways started procuring food, fuel, medicines, electricity, and other important goods and services for the population. The enterprise will be in close contact with military administrations to address the most pressing needs of people and the state.

Dear colleagues,

People in Ukraine value the words of support. At the same time, they require concrete actions to save their lives, their health, their property. It is also already clear to everyone that the fragility of the situation reaches beyond Ukraine, into Europe and across the world. We expect that the Council to be decisive in responding to the worst humanitarian crisis we have ever seen since the end of the Second World War in Europe.

Before I conclude, one of mine colleagues after the last Security Council session said, "You know, it looks like a group therapy. We are all here trying to bring to sanity one member." And indeed, when I listen to this member and to the representative of this country, I think that the Department of Health of New York city is called the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene not by chance. Because it is very difficult to [cope] after these meetings where we listen to the persistent lies and delusion, delirium coming from that particular country.

I think it is not only Russian diplomats in New York who need mental assistance but also those who posted today this text: "Foreign Minister Lavrov: “The goal of Russia’s special military operation is to stop any war that could take place on Ukrainian territory or that could start from there.” (Russian Embassy in London. Retweeted by the Russian Foreign Ministry.) Let me remind to the Russian diplomats that in London in case of need of mental help, you can dial an NHS line 111.

I thank you.