Statement by the Delegation of Ukraine at the UN Security Council meeting on “Maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine”

Statement by the Delegation of Ukraine at the UN Security Council meeting on “Maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine”

Madam President, distinguished members of the Security Council, Under-Secretary-General Griffiths,

I also recognize the representative of putin’s regime in the permanent seat of the Soviet Union or what has been left of him. This acolyte of two Josephs, Stalin and Goebbels, who never let’s the truth interrupt the endless flow of his prolixity of lies.

We appreciate having this meeting as civilians, in particular women and children, remain the most vulnerable to the inhumane russian war against Ukraine.

At the previous meeting we briefed the Security Council on the outcomes of a barbaric russian missile attack that killed 46 people in their apartments in Dnipro on 17January. What is most outrageous is that the tragedy in Dnipro was not an isolated incident, but rather a part of the deliberate strategy of the russian army towards the civilian population of Ukraine.

A number of new shellings of residential buildings have been registered over recent weeks. On 29 January a russian missile hit a residential building in the central part of Kharkiv. The same day russian artillery shelled the local hospital and residential areas in Kherson. On 1-2 February russian missiles targeted a multi-story residential building and several private houses in Kramatorsk, on 3 February – the same happened in Toretsk. All these attacks left dozens of civilians killed and injured.
As of now, the Ukrainian law enforcement agencies have registered damage or destruction of 77,463 civilian infrastructure facilities. More than 2.4 million Ukrainians have to live in damaged or destroyed housing.

Distinguished colleagues,
Russian missile and drone terror remains a major threat for the civilian population throughout Ukraine. On 26 January, another massive attack – with 55 air and sea-based missiles – killed 11 people and injured 11 more.

Even if not followed by a strike, every single missile alert is accompanied by air raid sirens which disrupt the normal life of the civilian population throughout the country. In 2022, a total of 14,870 sirens sounded across Ukraine. In Kharkiv region, for instance, their total duration over the year reached 55 days, in Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions – 42 days, in Dnipro region – 37 days and in Kyiv – 27 days.

Let me explain that as soon as an air raid siren is activated, schools, public services and businesses have to cease their operations and people should go to the closest shelters. The detrimental impact on both people’s activities and their mental health can hardly be overestimated.

Madam President,

the russian war of aggression has brought the land in Ukraine to the same level of danger as the Ukrainian skies. According to the preliminary estimates by our State Emergency Service, it has already resulted in contamination of about 30% of the territory of the country. While retreating in the north and the south the russian forces left the Ukrainian territories heavily mined – fields and roads, bridges, residential areas etc. The situation in the east – where the violent hostilities are at their height – is definitely even worse. However the full picture will only be seen after liberation.

Ukraine, exercising its right to self-defense in accordance with Article 51 of the UNCharter, fully implements its international obligations while the russian occupants commit war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide of the Ukrainian people. I would like to remind you that according to the Ottawa Convention, which Ukraine has been a party to since 2005, we have destroyed 3 million antipersonnel mines, including stockpiles of extremely hazardous mines POM-2.

In its attack of my country russia has used and continues to use the whole spectrum of prohibited mines, including POM-3 “Medallion” with seismic sensor, which are highly dangerous for civilians.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine, the State Emergency Service and other structures, risk their lives on a daily basis carrying out demining operations in the liberated territories. However, the main part of the work is still ahead of us and it will begin after the complete withdrawal of the russian troops from Ukraine.

Madam President,

by turning fertile Ukrainian soil into minefields russia further aggravates the global food crisis, already fuelled by its war against Ukraine. Russia regularly resorts to cynical attempts to diminish the detrimental impact of its aggression on global food security and to pose as a damaged party.

Let me reiterate again in response to this mockery that not a single warship blocks russian export flows. Not a single missile targets russian sea ports. However, it is still a reality for Ukraine. And even the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which is a temporary and very limited solution for both Ukraine and those reliant on Ukrainian food export, faces serious impediments from the russian side.

In particular, we are concerned that russia continues to hamper the inspection procedures. Immediately after the export of Ukrainian foodstuffs began to grow russia reduced the number of inspection teams from five to three and artificially increased the duration of each inspection. It is also a regular practice for russian inspectors to refuse to work under different pretexts while all other parties are ready to perform their duties.

Due to impediments by the russian side, as of 1st February, 114 vessels were waiting for inspection in the territorial waters of Türkiye and the number of departures from ports remains critically low – up to 3 vessels per day. These actions have resulted in a decrease in exports of almost 30% compared to the previous month. The way to solve this problem is quite simple – to increase the number of both inspection groups and inspections per day. Let me remind you that in November the UN and Türkiye were able to carry out 86 inspections just in two days.
Distinguished colleagues, tireless efforts by Ukraine have made it possible to return home 1,762 people from russian captivity with the most recent exchange having taken place last Saturday. However, russia still holds thousands of Ukrainians captive in terrible conditions.

Russian occupation authorities prevent UN officials from visiting Ukrainian prisoners of war, while the UN has documented facts of torture, poor treatment, lack of food, water, healthcare and sanitation in the sites in which they are held, as well as absence of contact with their families.
Deportation to remote regions of Russia as well as forced adoption of Ukrainian children remain another serious threat for the population in the occupied territories of Ukraine. To date, the Ukrainian authorities have identified 16,011 forcibly deported children. Ukraine expects the UN to pay more attention to this issue and calls for an all-for-all POWs’ exchange, as well as for the release of all adults and children deported to Russia from the occupied parts of Ukraine.

It is one of the elements of the 10-point Peace Formula Plan proposed by Ukraine to ensure a peaceful resolution on the basis of the principles of the UN Charter. It is a comprehensive plan aimed at laying a solid foundation for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.
We appreciate the positive reflections of many Member States to the presented Plan and reiterate our interest in their active engagement in order to bring back peace and to restore respect for the UN Charter.

as we approach the date marking a year since russia launched its full-fledged war and plunged the center of the European continent into violence, bloodshed and devastation, the needs and suffering of people on the ground should be our primary focus.

To this end Ukraine together with more than 30 Member States will initiate a high-level event on 22nd February to address gross human rights violations due to the aggression against Ukraine. We invite you to take part in the event and to take a resolute stance on the urgent need to end the russian aggression, for it to withdraw its troops from Ukraine and to halt the enormous human suffering in my country and abroad.

I thank you.