Statement by Ambassador James Kariuki at the UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine

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22 January 2024

Two years on from Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and this war benefits no one: UK statement at the UN Security Council

Colleagues, two years ago, Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Since its illegal and unprovoked attack, over 300,000 Russian personnel have been killed or wounded. Mothers and wives of these soldiers have been arrested or ignored. Thousands of Russian anti-war protestors have been detained. Media organisations have been shut down, and many journalists are now in Russian prisons.

Russian military modernisation has been set back eighteen years.

Now Russia’s defence industry strips down fridges for parts. It orders its weapons from the DPRK, in violation of multiple resolutions agreed in this Chamber, under this Russian Foreign Minister’s instruction. Its purchase and use of Iranian drones involves both states violating a Security Council resolution.

And for what? To lose more than half of the land it seized since February 2022 and a fifth of its Black Sea Fleet? To have its economy deprived of over $400 billion by sanctions, and hundreds of thousands of young Russians, who have emigrated for a better future?

This war benefits no one, not Russians, and certainly not Ukrainians.


Last time the Russian Foreign Minister was here, he spoke of protecting the rights of Russian-speakers in Ukraine.

Yet the only threat to any civilian in Ukraine continues to come from Russia. Russia continues to impede access for humanitarian organisations to the millions of people in need.

The UN Commission of Inquiry has reported a systematic pattern of torture against Ukrainian civilians by Russian authorities.

Russian missile strikes continue to strike population centres, with some of the most intense waves yet falling during the New Year. And Russia says it wants peace.

But while Ukraine, the UK and around 80 other countries were in Davos last week, discussing President Zelensky’s plans for peace, based on principles of the UN Charter that all here have signed up to, the deputy head of Russia’s National Security Council was proclaiming there could never be peace while an independent state of Ukraine existed.

That is not peace. That is subjugation, which would threaten Ukraine’s very existence as a state and usher in a new era of global instability.

This is why the UK will continue to replenish Ukraine’s air defences, to help it shield its civilians from these brutal attacks. This is why we have signed a new long term agreement on security cooperation, and announced £2.5bn more in military aid, and £18 million more in humanitarian aid for Ukraine.

Because Ukraine’s security matters for global security.

President, as my Prime Minister said on his recent visit to Kyiv, we remain unwavering in our commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its borders, to ensuring Ukraine’s ability to defend itself, to resist future coercion, to choose its own future, and to prosper peacefully.

Thank you.

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