Statement by Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, at a UN Security Council Briefing on Threats to International Peace and Security

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We will not forget either the massacres committed by Russian forces in Ukraine

February 6, 2024

Madam President,

I would like to thank Ms DiCarlo for her briefing.

On February 1, a convoy of the Swiss Church Aid was chased by Russian drones as it was coming out of the town of Beryslav. The two vehicles were unarmored and were displaying the EPER logo on the hood and sides. It was impossible to ignore that these vehicles belonged to a non-governmental organization. Russia deliberately targeted this convoy, killing two French civilian aid workers and injuring three others, as well as one Ukrainian. These people were humanitarian aid workers. They were risking their lives to come to the aid of the Ukrainian population, which has been suffering the devastating consequences of the Russian aggression for two years.

Russia has once again deliberately targeted civilians, violating international humanitarian law. Just last week, it attacked Ukraine more than 1,500 times, hitting 570 different localities, killing 12 and wounding 60.

We will not forget either the massacres committed by Russian forces in Ukraine: the targeting of the train station in Kramatorsk as thousands of civilians were trying to flee the conflict, the shopping center of Krementchouk, the residential buildings of Vinytssia, the funeral reception in Hroza.

The cynicism with which Russia is trying to shift responsibility has escaped no one. By convening the meeting today while targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine on a daily basis, Russia is insulting our intelligence. It is undertaking yet another crude manipulation of this Council.

Russian soldiers, inhabitants of the Donbass, civilians throughout the villages of Ukraine, French aid workers – Russia bears sole responsibility for all the deaths resulting from its war against Ukraine. France presents its condolences to the families of the 28 innocent victims of February 3. But such a tragedy, like all the others, did not happen before February 24, 2022. If Russia ceases its aggression and withdraws its troops, as the International Court of Justice asked it to do on March 16, 2022, the bloodshed will cease. It can make this choice at any time, without prejudice to its own security, or that of the Russian-speaking people in Ukraine.

I thank you.

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