Remarks by Ambassador Robert Wood, Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs, at a UN Security Council Briefing Called by Russia on Threats to International Peace and Security

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January 22, 2024

Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you, Deputy High Representative Ebo, for your briefing.

Mr. President, it is unfortunate that the Russian Federation continues to call for repeated meetings on this topic and use this Council as a stage for its blatant disinformation, which we have unfortunately had to listen to this morning.

It is cynicism of the highest order to claim that legitimate and lawful support for Ukraine’s self-defense is prolonging Russia’s war of aggression. It bears repeating: there are hundreds of thousands of Russian troops in Ukraine’s internationally-recognized territory. There is not a single Ukrainian soldier on Russian soil.

The Russian representative’s accusations would sound more credible if his government respected international law, the UN Charter, and Security Council resolutions. The UN Secretary-General has reiterated on many occasions that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a violation of the Charter and international law.

No amount of conspiracy theories and baseless accusations erase the fact that Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity started this war. It is President Putin’s single-minded pursuit of the obliteration of Ukraine and subjugation of its people that is prolonging it. Russia’s imperialist designs are obvious, and this meeting is another effort to distract from its war crimes and aggression. It is an arsonist blaming the firefighters so it can continue its crime.

As its invasion has faltered, Russia has sought more gasoline for its fire. It turned to Iran and the DPRK to procure additional weapons to use against Ukraine, its cities, and its people. Russian forces have now used against Ukraine DPRK-origin ballistic missiles acquired in violation of Security Council resolutions at least three times.

Last year, the United States brought to light clear evidence of Iran’s unlawful transfers of armed Iranian UAVs to Russia, despite restrictions in place at the time of this acquisition under Resolution 2231.

These unlawful arms transfers and potential technology transfers from Russia to the DPRK undermine regional stability and the global nonproliferation regime. This Council must hold to account any country that undermines its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions.

Mr. President, it is clear no country has paid a bigger price for Russia’s aggression and wants peace more than Ukraine. The Ukraine-led peace formula meetings are a clear sign of continued interest from the international community in a just and lasting peace based on the UN Charter. Last week, more than 80 countries gathered in Davos for the fourth iteration of these meetings.

Contrast these efforts with Russia, which speaks of an openness to dialogue while launching massive aerial assaults against Ukrainian cities. While Ukraine has been engaging in diplomacy with the international community, Russia has responded by launching missiles. Russia even attacked Ukraine while the Secretary-General and an African peace delegation were visiting Kyiv. Don’t just listen to Russia’s words. Look at its actions.

Russia can end this war today. But until it chooses to do so, the international community must continue to support Ukraine, the UN Charter, and the principles necessary to bring about a just and lasting peace.

Russia must immediately withdraw its forces from Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders, cease its unlawful procurement of DPRK-origin materiel, and meet its responsibilities as a member of this Council and international community.

Thank you, Mr. President.


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