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

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Escalation in Ukraine is Russia’s sole responsibility.

March 22, 2024

Madam President,

I would like to thank Ms. Nakamitsu for her briefing.

With this 13th meeting dedicated to weapons deliveries since September 2022, Russia is continuing its disinformation campaign. Two years ago, Russia attacked a free and sovereign nation that was not threatening or attacking it, in violation of all the rules of international law and the UN Charter.

Since then, escalation in Ukraine is Russia’s sole responsibility. It can decide at any time to withdraw its troops, without any prejudice to its own security. Instead, Russia is razing neighborhoods and entire towns: Marioupol, Marinka, Bakhmout, Avdiïvka. In Boutcha and Izioum, it has committed massacres. It continues to target civilian infrastructures, in defiance of international humanitarian law. On the night of March 20-21, 31 Russian missiles targeted Kiev, wounding 15 people. Last night, 87 missiles and 63 drones targeted the whole of Ukraine, killing at least 3 people and wounding 22.

France condemns these new strikes, which have damaged infrastructure including the Dnieper hydroelectric dam and several power substations. These strikes are in addition to last week’s tragic events in Odessa, Soumy, Kryvvyï Rih and Myrnohrad. To carry out these strikes, Russia has violated the resolutions of this Council, as it obtains its drones from Iran and its ballistic missiles from North Korea.

Madam President,

There is no other way to prompt Russia to stop its war than to help Ukraine. Russia is ignoring the International Court of Justice’s order of March 16, 2022 to withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory. It has made a mockery of the many appeals made by the UN General Assembly, which were adopted by an overwhelming majority.

We cannot let Russia win this war. Because the capitulation of Ukraine would be the defeat of us all. It would open the door to further aggression by states intent on territorial conquest and annexation by force. It would be a message that we have given up defending the principles of the Charter. This would be the law of the jungle.

This is why France will continue to support the Ukrainian people in their right to self-defense, bilaterally and via the European Union. We will continue to deliver materials to allow Ukraine to resist, strengthen its anti-aircraft defense and retake lost territories. We will step up our efforts to supply the Ukrainian army with the ammunition it needs. This is the purpose of the security cooperation agreement we signed with Ukraine on February 16. And of the meeting we organized in Paris on February 26 with the heads of state and government of 27 states. We will continue to develop our military support and adapt it to the needs expressed by our Ukrainian partners.

Madam President,

Russia continues to pursue its unrealistic objectives, and has no intention of engaging in good-faith negotiations. It has shown that it only understands the power struggle. So it’s only by helping Ukraine that we can create the conditions for negotiating a fair and lasting settlement to the conflict. This is the only way towards a peace that complies with international law and the United Nations Charter. A peace that respects the rights of Ukraine and its people.

Thank you.

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