Statement by H.E. Mr. Dmytro Kuleba, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, at the UN Security Council meeting on “Maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine”

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24 February 2024

Madam President,

Distinguished delegates,

As we discuss the war, peace talks and negotiations here, another air raid on Ukraine is taking place right now. Residential building in Odesa was hit less than an hour ago. Two civilians are heavily wounded and delivered in hospital. And I’m afraid that someone is going to die in Ukraine before this meeting is adjourned. Because talking about negotiations is one thing, but throwing more drones and missiles on Ukraine as Russia does everyday is completely another thing.

But first of all, allow me to thank the Secretary General for his attendance and his briefing. And also of course my thanks goes to the Guyanese Presidency for convening us today.

Two years since Russia started its full-scale military invasion of Ukraine and ten years since it started its aggression by attempting to annex Ukrainian Crimea and launching war in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Today, Russia’s name is synonymous with aggression, war crimes, and barbarism. Its ugly face is the direct result of its impunity, stemming first and foremost from its presence in this chamber’s seat. This is the seat of the Soviet Union, a state that does not exist anymore, and it has never been legally transferred to the Russian Federation. This is an example of how a small fraud led to a global catastrophe. We continue to insist that Russia has no legal right to be present at this table and a future reform should correct this historic mistake that led to deadly consequences.

Putin’s regime, which has been in place for around 24 years now, has already ruined millions of human lives. During this time, Moscow has launched or joined at least three major wars in Georgia, Ukraine, and Syria, which is approximately one war every eight years. It also stands behind the attempted coup in Montenegro and destabilizing efforts in the Sahel region. And the scariest thing is that we must now focus not only on the lives already taken by Russia but also on the lives that it is prepared to take in the future.

Russia acted every time this Council failed to act. For every word uttered in this chamber, Russia took a real human life. And its happening right now and continues to happen. And it is only through our resolute and joint actions that we can put the aggressor in its place and restore international peace and security. We do believe in the United Nations and the UN Charter, and we do applaud the tireless efforts of the responsible members of this Council.

Distinguished Colleagues,

Russian propaganda is now trumpeting what they call the “liberation of Avdiyivka. What we see in Avdiyivka right now is the “liberation a la russe.” Russia fully “liberated” the city of its people, buildings, and life. It dropped hundreds of guided aerial bombs, each with a warhead weighing 250 or 500 kilograms. Hundreds of bombs. Each is carrying 250 or 500 kilograms of explosive. Google and see the hole this bomb leaves when it hits the building, the house, hospital.

The streets of Avdiyivka are literally covered with the corpses of Russian soldiers killed in the so-called “meat assaults.” This is not how we call them. This is how they themselves call this barbaric war tactic. They send their own people into “meat assaults.” Conquest  at any cost. This is their strategy.Russia has paid for the ruins of Avdiyivka with the lives of at least 17 thousand Russian soldiers since October 2023. This is more casualties in a few months than in ten years of the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

Immediately after occupying the city, the Russians committed new war crimes there. As confirmed by footage circulated by Russian propaganda itself, at least 5 Ukrainian prisoners of war, heavily wounded, were killed by Russians.

Justice must be served to all victims of Russian crimes and we continue to work on holding Russia accountable. We categorically reject any Russian attempts to evade responsibility, including by spreading lies about the recent International Court of Justice ruling on January 31st. Our detailed letter outlining Ukraine’s position was distributed in the Council a few days ago.

There is no more important task for everyone present in this room than to realize that there are other cities outside Ukraine that can become Avdiyivka if the Russian conquest is not stopped.

On the eve of the invasion two  years ago, I warned that no nation would be able to sit out the crisis that was about to begin. And this is what happened. So please who did not hear me two years ago. Please hear me today. Either we stop Russia in Ukraine now by expelling the invaders, or we will face a fire that will claim millions of lives.

When future generations look back at this moment in time and read the records or our meetings, they will wonder why the world failed to act in such an obvious case of one country shattering the entire international peace and security. They will ask us, “Why were they not able to stop it?”


We can restore peace if we act together in a resolute and principled manner. But instead of watching Moscow create problems and inviting others to solve them, which is the usual Russian strategy, we must push Russia back. Because Russia is the problem, the global problem.

Madam President,

While we gather here, the situation on the frontlines remains tense as Russia stops at nothing to bring more deaths and destruction to Ukraine. Russia still hopes for our divisions, perplexity and indecisiveness, which would weaken international solidarity and military assistance to Ukraine.

Intensifying missile terror against civilians and civilian infrastructure also serves Russia’s purpose. Moscow hopes that the world will deplete its empathy towards Ukrainians if Ukrainians are killed every single day for too many days in a row.

We shall not allow this to happen. We will rally the world behind our true cause even more. Russian terror only strengthens our resilience and commitment.

Please remember, that more support to Ukraine means more opportunities for peace, just and lasting peace based on the UN Charter and Peace Formula proposed by Ukraine.

Ukraine wants peace more than any other nation. However, we are not going to allow Russia to kill us freely on the road to peace. Nor, we will never accept any offer to surrender or to concede our lands and freedoms under the guise of peace. Not only because it will make futile the ultimate price we are paying now for two years in a row, but also because we will all be doomed to pay a much higher price in the future.

And if you genuinely wish to lower this price to give peace a chance, send us air defense to protect our civilians and ammunition to stop the Russian army on our soil.

Thank you.

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