Statement by H.E. Ambassador Rytis Paulauskas, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Lithuania, on behalf of the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) and the Czech Republic at the UN Security Council Meeting on Ukraine

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21 October 2022, New York


Mister President,

I am speaking on behalf of the Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia and my own country, Lithuania, as well as the Czech Republic. We thank the Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo and the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Ukraine Denise Brown for their briefings.

Indiscriminate shelling of Ukrainian cities, including of the centre of Kyiv, last week and in recent days, deliberately targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, marks a new stage of Russia’s war against Ukraine, just a week apart from the illegal and provocative attempted annexation of the occupied parts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions of Ukraine.

We commend the efforts of the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and her team in Ukraine for their difficult and very dangerous work under the Russian attacks in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities. We fully support the development of winterization plans between the Ukrainian Government and the UN to address acute humanitarian needs of civilians, including the most vulnerable groups.

Our countries will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine as the winter approaches. We call upon all relevant UN institutions, as well as international community, to continue their life-saving efforts.

Mister President,

Russia is ignoring the ruling of the International Court of Justice and the absolute majority of the UN membership repeatedly calling on Russia to stop its aggression against the sovereign state of Ukraine, including by the latest UNGA resolution on the territorial integrity of Ukraine and defending the principles of the UN Charter. Instead, Russia chooses to escalate its imperialistic ambitions and pursue what could rightly be called its colonial war to enslave Ukraine in its sphere of influence.

We condemn in the strongest terms the recent decision by Russia to introduce the martial law in the occupied parts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions of Ukraine.

Deliberate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure are war crimes. Having no power to break Ukraine’s society and its resolve, to undermine its spirit, Russia chooses mass killings and indiscriminate attacks to intentionally inflict physical suffering on civilian population.

Due to the recent Russian attacks, 1/3 of Ukraine lost electricity and communication. Targeting the country’s energy, telecommunication and transport infrastructure ahead of winter, Russia subjects thousands of people, including children and the most vulnerable, to electricity, water and heating outages.

This is a tactics of a terrorist regime and display clear signs of genocide against the Ukrainian people.

With this punitive policy, Moscow is also trying to counter battlefield losses. Widespread use of Iranian-made drones in recent attacks – in violation of this very Council’s resolution 2231- is a symbol of the Kremlin’s desperation, making Iran an addition to the list of Russia’s accomplices, together with the Belarusian regime. Deployment of more of Russian troops in Belarus, as well as the fact that Russia has flown some of the Iranian drones to attack Ukraine from the territory of Belarus, speak for itself.

Mister President,

International community will hold Russia accountable for the atrocity crimes committed in Ukraine. The UN Commission of Inquiry concluded that an array of war crimes, violations of human rights and international humanitarian law have been committed by Russia in Ukraine. We fully support the International Criminal Court’s investigations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and possibly the crime of genocide committed in Ukraine, but we need to address the crime of aggression as well.

Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia reiterated the need to establish a Special Tribunal in Ukraine in their joint statement of the 16th of October. Ministers emphasized that no international court or tribunal currently could bring Russia’s top political and military leadership to account for committing the crime of aggression against Ukraine. The Special Tribunal for the Punishment of the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine would fill this jurisdictional loophole.

Finally, Russia uses global food security as another blackmail tool making groundless demands in relation to the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. We have seen many examples how easily Russia and Belarus can weaponize anything – from grain, energy, information to state generated migration flows, from nuclear safety  to historical memory.

Just few days ago, Russian occupation forces in Mariupol have dismantled a memorial to the Holodomor, claiming that discussion of Stalin’s genocide in Ukraine is “political misinformation.” At least 3.9 million Ukrainians perished in Stalin’s targeted famine between 1931 and 1934.

We reiterate that Russian aggression against Ukraine is the direct cause of current food insecurity, not the sanctions that aim to end the aggression. Sanctions do not prohibit transportation of Russian agricultural goods or payments. Restoring the freedom of navigation in the Black Sea is the only practical way to ensure unhindered flow of Ukraine’s grain and other food staples.  In order to achieve that, Russia must withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders immediately, completely and unconditionally.

Mister President,

Our countries will never recognize Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of the territories of Ukraine, be it Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson or Crimea.

These territories are Ukraine and Ukraine has every right to defend them and liberate them from Russia´s occupation, in full accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter. We call upon all members of the international community, and this Council, in particular, to support Ukraine’s efforts. We must defend the Charter, international law, human rights, peace and security – and our own humanity itself.

History with its all-darkest pages has taught our states and nations that human life has no value to Kremlin at all. Russia stops only when it is forced to stop.

I thank you.

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