Statement by the Permanent Representative of Ukraine H.E. Mr. Sergiy Kyslytsya at the UN Security Council briefing

Statement by the Permanent Representative of Ukraine H.E. Mr. Sergiy Kyslytsya at the UN Security Council briefing

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Mr. President, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Madam Under-Secretary-General, distinguished colleagues, and we have no doubts who sits in the Soviet seat behind the name plate “Russian Federation”. The GA gave a clear answer to this question – it is the aggressor state, not a shred of doubt.

I would like to start by expressing my gratitude to the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for his briefing, in particular for his clear qualification of the Russian actions against Ukraine as an unprovoked and unjustified aggression, which runs counter to both the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act, all OSCE commitments and principles.

Minister Rau, welcome to our regular intervention meetings, where members of the UN family gather around the aggressor state, which is in denial and makes no effort to struggle with its addiction to killing innocent citizens. Indeed, both the UN and the OSCE are now at a critical juncture with all their fundamental principles being violated. Flagrantly, openly and deliberately. Violated by Russia that has pretended to be a key stakeholder in maintaining international peace and security. Instead, it has been the main provider of insecurity, encircling itself with a belt of conflicts.

On 24 February Russia went even further, launching an aggressive war against Ukraine. The war that serves an illustration of what the UN founding members, and Russia was not in their list, I remind, tried to save succeeding generations from. I therefore commend the Chairperson-in-Office for his strong commitment to pursuing as his main priority the termination of the war on the basis of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders. We fully support the human-oriented approach of Poland’s OSCE Chairmanship with a special focus on protection of the civilian population affected by conflicts.

Russian troops continue to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine, erasing any difference with their Nazi predecessors 80 years ago. Cities and villages, raising to the ground, mass graves, terror against civilians in the occupied territories, abduction and killing of representatives of local authorities, activists and journalists.

I reiterate my call to the Security Council and today I address this call to the OSCE Chair as well to facilitate the release of Ivan Fedorov, Mayor of Melitopol, Zaporizhzhya region, who was detained by the Russian soldiers on 11 March. Now he is reportedly being tortured due to his refusal to collaborate with the aggressor. Unfortunately, the Russian occupants stepping up their repressive practices as yesterday they abducted Yevhen Matveyev, Mayor of Dniprorudne, another town in Zaporizhzhya region.

Russia proceeds with repressive practices as it has completely failed to create an illusion of public support on the territories it temporarily occupies. Residents of Kherson, Berdyansk, Melitopol, Energodar and other cities and towns in occupation have no fear to take to the streets to say the occupants: “Go away, we are Ukraine”. Unarmed. Staring down the barrels of Russian guns.

Russian attempts to employ in Kherson its usual practice of proclaiming a fake “people’s republic” was immediately rejected by the Kherson regional council that adopted at its emergency session on the 12th of March a statement that Kherson region has been and will be Ukraine. The Mayor of Kherson solidarized with this statement.

There is no place in Ukraine where the Russian troops are welcomed. They feel it quite well and they have stopped restraining themselves. Mariupol remains the most powerful example. The toll of civilian casualties following Russian bombardments and shellings reached almost 2200 innocent local residents. If you want to visualize it, just think of atleast 11 General Assembly halls.

So many innocent citizens were killed in Mariupol. Early on Sunday morning Russian rockets struck the Yavoriv international peacekeeping and security center. 35 people were killed and 134 wounded. Russian Ministry of Defense tried to whitewash this crime by claiming it aimed the “foreign mercenaries”. This is not true, as only Ukrainian citizens were affected. Countering Russian aggression must be a centerpiece of the OSCE efforts to restore security on the European continent.

We consider that the OSCE has to contribute to the implementation of the Resolution ES/11-1 “Aggression Against Ukraine”, adopted by the overwhelming majority on 2 March. We welcome the invocation of the Moscow mechanism, which is important to register all war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed by the Russian Federation in its war against Ukraine. We also underline the need to explore all OSCE tools to documented Russian crimes and ensure public and timely reaction by the Chairperson-in-Office special representatives and the OSCE autonomous institutions.

We expect the ODIHR to be vocal on the cases of flagrant human rights violations, stemming from the Russian aggression against Ukraine. Russia is intensifying its propaganda and disinformation campaign and we consider that the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media has to pay close attention to Russia’s false narratives. We appreciate her strong stance against violations against journalists, which remains an element of the Russian aggression. We note her condemnation of the killing of Brent Renaud, a US filmmaker and journalist in Irpin on 13 March. “He is another casualty of the horrible ongoing Russian invasion in Ukraine and his death is a blow to media freedom”, as Representative Ribeiro said. I also express our profound condolences to the relatives of Ms. Marina Fenina of SMM who was killed by the aggressor.

The strong and clear position by the High Commissioner for National Minorities on dire conditions for national minorities in Ukraine, stemming from the Russian invasion, remains a long overdue. He also has to be proactive on rebutting Russia’s propaganda fakes. We also look forward to extending the OSCE SMM mandate for another year. It would be a powerful message of the OSCE engagement with Ukraine.

I would like to thank at this point the USG Rosemary DiCarlo for her very principled position, for her being a strong member of SG’s team. And on this occasion I would like to quote from the Secretary General’s statement that he made just an hour ago, “Ukraine is on fire. The country is being decimated before the eyes of the world. The impact on civilians is reaching terrifying proportions. Countless innocent people, including women and children, have been killed after being hit by Russian forces. Roads, airports and schools lie in ruins. According to WHO at least 24 health facilities have been destroyed, hundreds of thousands of people are left without water or electricity. With each passing hour, two things are increasingly clear: first – it keeps getting worse; second – whatever the outcome, this war will have no winners, only losers.” Then the Secretary General also wisely said: “Yet there is another dimension of this conflict that’s obscured. This war goes far beyond Ukraine. It is also an assault on the world’s most vulnerable people and countries. While war rains over Ukraine, the sword of Damocles hangs over the global economy – especially, the developing world. Even before the conflict developing countries were struggling to recover from the pandemic with record inflation, rising interest rates and looming debt burdens. Their ability to respond has been erased by exponential increases in the cost of financing. Now their bread basket, that is Ukraine, is being bombed.”

Dear colleagues,

What is happening now is not only about Ukraine’s survival. Unlike Putin and his henchmen Ukraine will survive the Russian invasion. It is about the survival of both the UN and the OSCE. And it is about deputinization of Russia and its gradual returning to the tenets of international law in the post-Putin era. Putin’s regime nears its end. At the same time, it has inflicted such heavy damage on the Russian society that it would take decades to bring Russia back to at least the level of democracy it achieved in the 90s of the past century. In fact Moscow required 15 years to cover the distance between the formal signing of the Helsinki Final Act and conscious choice to be a part of building a new Europe, as envisaged in the 1990 Paris Charter.

Moscow failed then and yet we deem that now the OSCE should play a special role in getting ready to support post-Putin Russia on its future path back to the family of democratic nations - under new leadership, with new ambassadors and new representatives. It is not an easy task, but we will not be able to break the vicious circle of violence without restoring respect by Russia for the fundamental principles, enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act. I therefore call upon the OSCE Chair and the OSCE autonomous institutions to start considering the modalities of work with post-Putin Russia as there will be no automatic return to normalcy neither here in New York, nor in the OSCE.

I thank you.