Statement by Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya, Permanent Representative of Ukraine at the UN Security Council meeting on women and children in the situation of the war of Russia against Ukraine

Statement by Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya, Permanent Representative of Ukraine at the UN Security Council meeting on women and children in the situation of the war of Russia against Ukraine

Mister President, distinguished members of the Security Council, Madam Executive Director, and briefers,

I also recognize a representative of putin’s regime in the permanent seat of the Soviet Union.

Although a more appropriate seat for Russia government’s representatives seems to be at a Trial for war crimes committed in Ukraine since today’s lies from putin’s representative predictably contain everything but the kitchen sink. As one says these days here in New York, “We know Russians lies because their lips are moving.” There’s nothing to write home about as the comrade hasn’t even shown himself out of the Chamber after that embarrassment of an intervention. Lights are on but nobody’s home at the Russian mission.

Mr President,

George Orwell believed that totalitarian regimes and the corruption of language were closely connected.

Now I have to put my earphones on to listen to the Russian interpretation of the next two sentences.

It’s an important development that the Security Council is now addressing the Russian war against Ukraine under a new agenda item - “Maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine”. I would like to thank Security Council members who supported its introduction.

[I find the interpretation I’ve heard satisfactory. And I thank the UN Interpretors. What I find not satisfactory at all is how the Russian diplomat in his statement at the beginning of the meeting used the Russian language to impose once again a different concept of reality. The agenda item as approved reads as follows “Maintenance of peace and security OF Ukraine”. It’s neither “ON” Ukraine - “на Украине» as the Russian diplomat manipulated on purpose, nor any other linguistic fantasies of the Russian mission.

Mr. President,

The language used for the title is exceptional for conflict-specific issues, which are mostly refer to “situations” in specific countries or “questions” concerning them. It is an acknowledgment that peace and security of Ukraine have been violated from abroad and the Security Council will remain seized of the matter until they are restored.

Along with the letter dated 28 February 2014 from the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2014/136) concerning the threats to the territorial integrity of Ukraine due to the Russian attempted annexation of Crimea, the new agenda item will serve as a framework for the Security Council’s actions in response to the Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Dear Colleagues,

On 24 March an overwhelming majority of the UN Member States adopted the GA Resolution “Humanitarian consequences of the aggression against Ukraine”. They particularly demanded in that Resolution that civilians, including humanitarian personnel, journalists and persons in vulnerable situations, including women and children, be fully protected.

Russia voted against, thus openly showing it considers civilians, including women and children to be a possible target. Since the beginning of its invasion this Russian approach has proved to be true almost on a daily basis. Just last week in the presence of the President of Ukraine the Security Council addressed the massacre, committed by the Russian troops in the city of Bucha and other towns and villages of Kyiv region during the period of occupation in March. Over the past week a number of foreign officials, UN representatives and foreign journalists have attended the crime sites. Shock and outrage were the main responses of those who saw those killed and tortured, who listened to those raped and robbed. The investigation has just started but the futility of Russa’s shameless attempt to decline responsibility is clear to everyone.

Unfortunately, Russia persists in adding newer and newer items to the list of its war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine. On 8 April, Russian missiles hit the Kramatorsk railway station, where almost 4000 civilians, mostly elderly, women and children, were waiting for evacuation trains from the war zone. 52 people, including 5 children, were killed. 109 were wounded, many of them severely.

It speaks volumes that Russian attempts to conceal the traces following the strike were similar to those Russia had resorted to after shooting down the MH17 flight in 2014. Initial triumphant reports by Russian propaganda, this time about “hitting a concentration of Ukrainian troops in the Kramatorsk railway station” were deleted immediately after the information on the real outcomes of the strike appeared. Instead, the regular fake narrative on “Ukrainians killing themselves” was again activated. It will neither persuade others, nor help Russia to escape responsibility. The world's trust in Russia and its diplomats is as dead as a door nail. The investigation will establish all responsible and they will be brought to justice.

Dear colleagues,

The scope of atrocities that the Ukrainian women and children suffer now has not been seen in the region since the end of the Second World War. Like its Nazi predecessors, Russia has launched a policy of extermination of the entire people. The Russian soldiers have been allowed by their superiors to kill everyone who identifies herself or himself as Ukrainian, regardless of who they are.

The very modest, preliminary and incomplete figures recorded by the OHCHR include 245 women killed as of 7 April. The sex of 831 adults killed is yet unknown. According to our governmental sources, at least 183 children have been killed and 342 wounded. This toll of casualties, outrageous by itself, does not include the victims in Mariupol. It is impossible so far to establish how many women and children have been killed and injured there.

In an attempt to cover up the killings of thousands of civilians in this besieged Ukrainian city and to prevent Bucha-like publicity Russian troops are reported to be deploying mobile crematoriums to burn dead bodies of civilians. Again, the historical associations are easily traceable.

The inhuman cruelty of the Russian invaders has turned the lives of millions of Ukrainian women and children into horrific nightmare. Fleeing from “Russian liberators”, more than 4.3 million refugees have left Ukraine. Six and a half million people have become internally displaced persons. The overwhelming majority of them are women and children. This is the largest displacement in Europe since the 40th of twentieth century.

The safety of women refugees remains a matter of concern. We should focus on how to protect them from sexual violence and trafficking in either labor or sex schemes of exploitation, as well as on how to ensure physical and psychological recovery for victims.

I would like to inform you in this regard that the special web-page with information on how to protect Ukrainian women and children from human trafficking has been recently launched in Ukraine

Dear colleagues,

The briefer from Ukraine has provided you with examples of appalling cases of targeted repressions against female officials and female activists in the occupied territories. The execution of Ms. Olha Sukhenko, the head of the village of Motyzhyn, Kyiv region, along with her husband and son, is just one of these examples.

The entire scope of the humanitarian consequences of the occupation of Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy regions has yet to be established. At the same time the existing data already serves as a reminder of the extreme vulnerability of women and children in a situation of war.

The withdrawal of Russian troops has revealed evidence of unimaginable suffering, with killings, unspeakable torture and sexual violence including rape and mutilation. For instance, the prosecutor’s office is now investigating now the case happened in Brovary district, Kyiv region, when a Russian soldier killed a local resident and then repeatedly raped his wife in their private house. The suspect’s identity has been established.

The Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine in cooperation with pretrial investigation agencies and health care facilities is now launching a special mechanism of documentation of cases of sexual violence by Russian soldiers against Ukrainian women. Prosecutors and investigators are also closely cooperating with human rights defenders and NGOs that provide the women effected with medical and psychological support.

I would like to reiterate the message, delivered by my President to the Security Council a week ago. We are ready for cooperation with international institutions to ensure full and transparent investigation. It is also important that the UN bodies, including UN-Women and UNICEF address these issues and ensure full-fledged monitoring of the situation with women and children in the situation of the war of Russia against Ukraine.

I would also like to draw the attention of the Security Council to the fact that the invaders have already taken more than 121,000 children out of Ukraine. Moreover, Russia is reported to have drafted a bill to simplify and accelerate the procedure for the adoption of abducted Ukrainian children both orphans and those who have parents and other relatives. Most of these children were abducted from Mariupol to Donetsk and Russian city of Taganrog. These actions flagrantly violate Article 7 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and Article 49 of the Forth Geneva Convention.

Mr President,

Ukrainian women have always been an indispensable part of the solution of crises and conflicts. The unprovoked and unjustified war waged by Russia has highlighted this role in government, business and civil society.

Since 2014, Ukraine’s women have been increasingly engaged in the Women Peace and Security Agenda guided by UNSC Resolution 1325 and Ukraine’s commitment to a gender equality policy. Ukraine was the first of the world’s countries to adopt a National Action Plan for WPS 1325 under wartime conditions; and Ukraine has now adopted its second National Action Plan to 2025.

Ukraine’s female activists have been active in promoting initiatives aimed at supporting the Ukrainian Army, strengthening public awareness and preparedness to war-related emergencies.

The Ukrainian government and local communities have been worked together. The Ministry of Social Policy and the Government Commissioner on Gender Equality Policy have established a network of advisors in all Ukrainian regions to ensure a gender-sensitive response to all situations including emergencies such as these.

Ukraine’s women are proactive on all levels of community action, community local governance, local humanitarian responses. Many high government positions are held by women and they are promoting full accountability for the war crimes being committed now.

Ukraine’s women have been actively contributing to Ukraine’s security, as members of the army and law-enforcement, as peace builders, human rights and women’s rights defenders. They seek meaningful inclusion in all of the processes to restore Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and bring peace back to Ukrainian soil.

Mr President,

Let me conclude with another letter that was made public in Ukraine several days ago. A nine-year old boy is writing to his mother on the occasion of the Women’s Day.

«Mama. This letter is my gift to you on the Women’s Day of 8th March… Thank you for the best 9 years of my life! Many thanks for my childhood! You are the best mama in the world. I will never forget you! I wish you good luck in the Heavens. I wish you to get to paradise. I will try to behave well to get to paradise too. Kiss you, your Tolya”.

This was a nine-year old boy from the town of Hostomel, Kyiv region. And his mother was killed by Russian soldiers when they tried to escape from the occupied town by car. The boy stayed in the vehicle until local residents were able to rescue him and take him to a shelter.

Such letters should not have to be written. If they are, it means that something has gone terribly wrong, including here at the UN. It would mean its mechanism of maintaining international peace and security aren't working properly and should be fixed, but could they be fixed while Russia is allowed to use the rights of a permanent member.

If we are not able to stop the Kremlin, more and more children will become orphans. More and more mothers will lose their children. Today in Ukraine. Tomorrow somewhere else.

The Kremlin must be stopped. For the sake of future generations. To save them from the scourge of war. In Ukraine. And throughout the world. As the UN Charter envisages.

I thank you.