May 12, 2022
Mr President, distinguished members of the Security Council,
I also recognize the representatives of Putin’s regime in the permanent seat of the Soviet Union. Perhaps as defendants in a future trial for war crime and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine they should avail of this session as pre-trial hearings. First of all, I would like to thank UNICEF Deputy Executive Director of Programmes Omar Abdi and Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Joyce Msuya for their briefings.
Admiration and pain. The sentiments of all those who are now watching Azovstal, Mariupol. Courageous defenders hold their positions under full blockade, without any replenishments. Another day, another week, another month.
Every day and night the Russian occupiers try to break the resistance of the Ukrainians in Azovstal. Every day and night they drop heavy aerial bombs, they shell the facilities with heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems. Assault groups of the Russian infantry are attacking non-stop.
The defenders of Mariupol have already done the impossible. They stopped the overwhelming Russian troops for more than 3 months. Their contribution to the disruption of the Russian blitzkrieg plans can’t be overestimated. Mariupol has paid a heavy price for this. The death toll among its residents over these months – about 20 thousand – is double the amount caused during the Second World War by German Nazis, who killed 10 thousand.
That is the reason for the attackers to show no restraint in their attempts to finally crush the resistance. That is the reason why we are extremely concerned about the destiny of the defenders of Azovstal should they fall into the hands of Russian troops. Even during the evacuation of civilians from Azovstal on 7 May the Russian forces continued to shell the Ukrainian soldiers escorting the civilian evacuees from the area of the plant. As a result, three Ukrainian servicemen were killed and six were wounded, in violation of all agreed arrangements.
Many in Azovstal have been heavily wounded and they have no access to the medical treatment they urgently need.
Therefore, we consider that the evacuation operation should be continued. We call on the Security Council and the Secretary General to invest further efforts to ensure the evacuation of the sick and wounded from the Azovstal area in accordance with international humanitarian law. They have to be brought to safe places, where their right to life will be guaranteed. Russian captivity is not such a place for the servicemen from Azovstal.
We are also alarmed that the repressive Russian practice of using filtration camps for Ukrainians fleeing dangerous areas is being consolidated further. Given the inhumane conditions and ill-treatment the word “filtration” can only be considered a euphemism for “concentration”.
It is outrageous that Russia has applied these “filtration” practices to civilians who were evacuated from Azovstal under the facilitation of the UN and the ICRC. Some of them were illegally detained. For instance, during the evacuation on 9 May, ironically on Mother’s Day, the Russian occupiers separated a 4-year-old girl, Alice, from her mother, a medical worker. Only the little child was allowed to leave the occupied territory, while her mother was reported to be detained in a filtration camp.
These actions by the Russian forces constitute a gross violation of a child’s right to life and security, guaranteed by The Hague and Geneva Conventions and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We demand Russia immediately and unconditionally release the child’s mother and ensure she is reunited with her daughter.
We call on UNICEF to use all possible means to protect the rights of this child and other children who were separated from their parents by the Russians.
We take note of the Statement by the President of the Security Council of 6 May. Immediately after the Russian federation joined the members of the Security Council in recalling the obligation of all Member States “to settle their disputes by peaceful means” it fired rockets on Ukraine’s Odesa and Mykolayiv, Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhya regions. Russia continues its missile terror on a daily basis, targeting mostly civilian infrastructure. Since 24 February Russia has fired more than 2100 missiles on Ukrainian cities and villages. Women and children throughout Ukraine remain the most vulnerable groups under the conditions of the missile terror of Russia.
At least 226 children have been killed and 417 wounded by the Russian troops in Ukraine. There is no doubt that the actual data is much higher as the occupied territory remains a no-go zone for any credible international mechanism.
Every day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine brings us new tragedies and new crimes committed by Russians. One of the most recent cases happened in the village of Bilohorivka, the Luhansk region, on 7 May. Following a Russian airstrike on a local school – the only building with a shelter – only 30 civilians out of 90 were rescued. The school, once full of joyful children, was turned by a Russian pilot into another mass grave.
Last night Russia carried out an airstrike on Novhorod-Siverskyi, destroying another school.
As of today, 126 educational institutions have been entirely destroyed and 1509 more have been damaged. I reiterate that schools must never be attacked or used for military purposes. Targeting civilians and civilian objects, including schools, is a violation of international humanitarian law.
In violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Russia continues its kidnapping of Ukrainian children. After forcible transfer to Russia, they are illegally adopted by Russian citizens without observing any of the mandatory procedures envisaged by the legislation of Ukraine.
According to official Russian sources, as of 7May, more than 1 million Ukrainians have been transferred to Russia, including 200 thousand children. 2 thousand of them are orphans or those deprived of parental care. The children’s living conditions and their state of health remain unknown.
We call on UNICEF, UNHCR and ICRC to demand from Russia immediate and unhindered access to those children, as well as to all persons who have been transferred from conflict-affected areas of Ukraine to Russia or Ukrainian territories under temporary Russian control.
We also call on the Secretary-General to use all the mechanisms established by this Council to monitor and report on violations against children in conflict.
According to WHO, at least 3,000 people have died in Ukraine during the period of the invasion due to the lack of access to treatment for chronic diseases.
The Health Ministry of Ukraine reported that as of today Russian troops have destroyed or damaged about 400 healthcare facilities. Under the circumstances of war, the treatment of cancer patients has been completely stopped in Ukraine. There are serious problems with access to insulin and antibiotics.
The situation with access to medical services in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine in the East and South can only be described as a disaster. There is a shortage of the most basic drugs. The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities estimates that Russia’s military attacks against Ukraine are putting the lives of 2.7 million people with disabilities at risk.
We welcome the launch of the Commission of Inquiry to investigate the atrocities related to Russia’s war against Ukraine. The resolution, adopted today in Geneva, mandates the Commission to conduct a special investigation into war crimes committed by Russian invaders in areas of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy regions.
The list includes arbitrary executions of more than a thousand civilians, widespread instances of sexual violence, torture and other violations. Ukraine together with up to 50 partner-countries will ensure accountability for all perpetrators.
It is symbolic that one of the Russian rockets, launched on 7 May, destroyed the museum of Ukrainian philosopher Hryhoriy Skovoroda. In his doctrine he promoted humanistic ideas.
Indeed, the current Russia is too far from humanism. The recent saber-rattling celebration of 9th May served as another illustration. The entire world commemorates on 8th May the memory of victims and those who stopped the Nazism 77 years ago under the motto “Never again”.
Russia has made the day of the 9th May a cornerstone of its ideology, which is a combination of propaganda of war, hatred towards neighbours, militarization and utmost disregard for agreed rules, norms and values.
We are grateful to all Member States that co-sponsored the Joint Statement on the Occasion of the 77th Anniversary of the End of the Second World War in Europe and thus demonstrated their resolute stance towards cynical attempts to appropriate and exploit the memory of the victory over Nazism and to use it for justifying this full-scale invasion of Ukraine
Listening to Putin nowadays one can hardly believe he is the same person who once wrote in his op-ed for the New York Times that “the law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not”.
“Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defence or by the decision of the Security Council. Anything else is unacceptable under the UN Charter and would constitute an act of aggression”.
Another quotation by Putin. From the same article. Edition for September 11, 2013. Under the title “A Plea for Caution From Russia”.
Nine years ago, Russian diplomatic vocabulary contained the word “caution”. And according to Putin’s op-ed, Russia’s current actions against Ukraine are an “act of aggression”. Because nobody attacked Russia. Because no single decision has been adopted by the Security Council to sanction Russian actions in Ukraine.
If it was not so tragic it could have been funnier and much deeper fake than deep fake Putin videos on Trevor Noah’s Daily Show. In fact they are much closer to reality than Putin’s envoy speaking here.
Not long after Putin’s hypocritical op-ed about the supremacy of the international law, in March 2014 the late Putin’s envoy, Churkin, at least made an effort to keep up appearances in this Council struggling to justify Russian invasion of Ukraine. Churkin is dead, and today’s standards of Russian diplomacy have gone through the floor.
Russia is the only beneficiary of the Council’s inaction on the issue of its war against Ukraine.
At the same time, I doubt that it is in the interest of 14 Security Council members to tolerate the Russian strategy of undermining the Council’s credibility.
I urge the Security Council to demonstrate resoluteness in safeguarding this organ and its mandate from the destructive Russian practices.
In response to the Russian envoy drivel. Let me break what seems to be a news to the Russian delegation: scientific evidence suggests that all modern humans are descended from an African population of Homo sapiens that spread out of Africa about 60,000 years ago. And I’m proud to be one of them.