Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on Ukraine

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November 21, 2023


We thank Albania and the United States for convening this meeting. And I mean it when I say so. Frankly speaking, we also thought of calling a meeting on Ukraine on this day, 21 November. This date is meaningful in terms of the ongoing Ukrainian tragedy and it is a milestone for the Ukrainian conflict. On this day ten years ago anti-government protests began in Kiev, which three months later led to a deadly anti-constitutional coup d’état and the subsequent chain of events that turned out tragic if not fatal for Ukraine. The result was a systemic state crisis, which poses an acute threat to international peace and security today. Since we are gathered here, we believe it will be useful to recover the timeline of those events in more detail.

As we all remember, the formal reason for the beginning of the protests on November 21, 2013, was the sovereign and absolutely legitimate decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to suspend preparations for signing the Association Agreement with the European Union. This decision was taken not under pressure and not in the interests of Russia, as Maidan historians are trying to present the case, but in order to uphold Ukraine’s national security. Leaders of the country realized that is was not possible to modernize the economy within a short time to keep it competitive with European businesses. In addition, the signing of the agreement would create objective difficulties for Ukraine’s trade and economic interaction with Russia and other CIS countries. All this became obvious once the text of the draft agreement was publicized (prior to this, the work on it had been conducted in a closed format).

The fact that the state, guided by national interests, decided not even to cancel but to postpone this far-reaching decision caused an acute and concerted reaction of right-wing radical forces in Ukraine. NGOs that had received money from the United States and its allies for many years also galvanized action. One of the architects of the Maidan coup, Victoria Nuland, admitted in an interview with CNN in 2014 that the US had allocated $5 billion for this purpose since 1991. It is clear that Washington was not going to let this money slip away. And in the evening of the same day, so-called “activists” under EU flags began to gather on the Independence Square (Maidan) in Kiev. A week before that, on November 13, a well-known figure of the Orange Revolution of 2004 (the first unsuccessful attempt to establish a pro-Western regime in Ukraine), Yuriy Lutsenko, called on the opposition to unite and hold mass actions should the decision on European integration fail to meet their demands. In fact, this was blackmail by a small and clamorous yet very active and motivated minority that had unlimited support from the United States and its allies.

I shall not go into the details of how seamlessly radical nationalists enacted the West-prepared script of the Maidan coup. I will only say that its most important elements were, as is clear today, the criminal provocation of the radical opposition with the shooting of protesters on Maidan, which resulted in the deaths of more than 100 people. The fact that these people did not fall at the hands of law enforcement officers is well known today. There was also a political fraud when the very next morning the opposition disavowed the transition agreement that President Yanukovich signed under guarantees from Germany, France and Poland and removed him from power in violation of the Constitution, having seized governmental buildings. Those who took part in those events will have the opportunity to tell more about it at an Arria meeting of the Security Council to be held by Russia on December 8, 2023. Our Western colleagues turned a blind eye to this lawlessness which makes them complicit in the “original sin” that has caused Ukraine to slide into the abyss slowly but surely.

Needless to say, the aforementioned deadly provocation at the Maidan has not been investigated. Nor has the tragedy in the Trade Union House in Odessa on 2 May, where activists who did not welcome the developments on Maidan were burned alive. Nor has the massacre of civilians in Mariupol on 9 May 2014. We will certainly continue to do everything we can to ensure that those responsible for these crimes, many of whom do not even think of hiding while the current authorities are at power in Kiev, receive the punishment they deserve.

Intoxicated by its own impunity and boundless Western support, the Maidan junta began persecuting Russian-speaking Ukrainians, their rights and historical values, and put glorification of Nazi henchmen on top of their agenda. War criminals and collaborators R. Shukhevych and S. Bandera, guilty of mass murder of Jews, Poles, Russians, and Ukrainians themselves during World War II, were named heroes of Ukraine. Moreover, modern Ukrainian nationalists do not conceal it why exactly they worship their Nazi idols. The chairman of the far-right Svoboda party, O.Tyagnibok, chanted that they “fought the Moskals, fought the kikes and other evil that wanted to take Ukrainian state away”.

As a result, Crimea seceded from Ukraine, and after the inhabitants of the south and south-east of Ukraine refused to submit to the new anti-people regime, Kiev launched a punitive operation against the peaceful population of Donbas. And even having received a decent pushback from them and having signed the Minsk Agreements, the Kiev clique missed the chance for the return of the LPR and DPR by sabotaging the implementation of this document. As we already know today, it has been nothing more than a “smokescreen” for Kiev and its Western sponsors to prepare for war with Russia and accelerate armament. After all, as we already know very well, the Maidan was conceived solely as a means of weakening Russia in the interests of the West. Ukrainians (and the European ambitions of some of them) were cynically abused. The scenario that we saw unfold had been drafted in advance and had at its core no Ukrainian interests whatsoever.

Ukraine has missed the chance for peace at least twice: with the Minsk Agreements; and then in March-April 2022 during the special military operation, when under the pressure of the US and the UK, the Zelensky regime refused to continue peace talks with Russia. Instead, it chose the path of a senseless war “to the last Ukrainian” in a futile attempt to please the West by inflicting a strategic defeat on a nuclear power.


But we also remember the other Ukraine, the Ukraine before Maidan, the country with which we are united by close historical, cultural and family ties. We know a nation that shares with us a common religion and traditions, as representative of the Russian Orthodox Church once again reminded the Council at the meeting that we called on November 17.

Today, there is no doubt that 10 years ago, the Maidan was an event that split the history of Ukraine into “before” and “after” and split the entire Ukrainian society. It was not a choice between “archaic” Russia and the “progressive” West, as they are trying to present it in Kiev and Western capitals, but a choice between civilizational identity, based on the historically established community of Slavic peoples on the one hand, and the complete loss of national identity, turning into a puppet of the West, deprived of the right to its own opinion, permeated with corruption and monstrous manifestations of nationalism on the other. Today, more and more Ukrainians are realizing this, no matter how hard Western and Ukrainian propaganda may try to prevent them from doing so.

We can see that the Ukrainian people are gradually recovering from this daze and realizing the perniciousness of the choice that had been made for them. They begin to ask the authorities the right questions. For example, why is canonical Orthodox Christianity, to which millions of people remain faithful, being persecuted and destroyed in this country while the schismatic church created by the authorities and supported by the current state power is being imposed? Why is the Russian language, which is the mother tongue for the majority of Ukrainians, being artificially squeezed out of the state and public domains, while in Western civilized countries, to which Ukraine claims to belong, the rights of national minorities, including language rights, are strictly and rigorously respected? Why are all key decisions on defense, economy, and foreign policy made for Ukrainians by its external sponsors, while overseas corporations are buying the country’s fertile lands? Why do Western defense companies get fabulously rich on arms supplies to Ukraine, while the Kiev regime gets old stuff that NATO countries would have to get rid of anyway? Or how so that President of the country sends to the front literally everyone save old people and babies while clinging to power at all costs, “tightening the screws” and intensifying a crackdown on dissent and any manifestations of opposing views?

Unfortunately, a full-sclae discussion on these and other issues is unlikely to begin inside Ukraine as long as the Kiev regime feels the unconditional support of the West, which still cherishes its “project Ukraine” as the best opportunity to weaken Russia. And as long as Zelensky, who has become a dictator, arrests and imprisons anyone who dares to ask these questions, or even try to read alternative news.

Therefore what we see on the ground is exasperation with which the Kiev regime continues its doomed attempts to defeat my country. After the failure of the “summer counteroffensive”, the colossal losses, the ruining of military equipment and the waste of hundreds of thousands of NATO shells, Kiev is preoccupied with targeting civilians, for which West-supplied long-range systems are well suited. The regime in Kiev has adopted ISIL’s terrorist methods and brags about it. In the absence of any willingness on the part of Zelensky and his associates (as well as their Western puppeteers) to talk about a scenario in which Ukraine ceases to be “anti-Russia” and returns to the path of good-neighborly and civilized development, we will have to continue to fulfill the goals of our special operation militarily. Every day brings us closer and closer to attaining this goal with all that it implies for Ukraine.

I should like to draw the attention of all those who today repeated their worn-out “mantra” about Russia allegedly hitting Ukraine’s civilian  infrastructure (in reality it is either military or related facilities), making life in that country unbearable, to a recent report that was published the other day by the Israeli media and reprinted by AFP. It states that 4,000 refugees from Israel, holders of Ukrainian passports, have decided to return to Ukraine because, in their own words, it is safe there. Colleagues, think about this: they prefer to go home from Israel, which, as you well understand, is dozens (if not hundreds) of times safer than the Gaza Strip, which is being razed to the ground before our eyes. But our Western colleagues prefer not to notice this situation because of their double standards. I repeat my question from the previous meeting on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine: how many meetings on the humanitarian situation in Gaza have you convened? I will answer for you: not a single one. Instead, it is more convenient for you to promote lies and fabrications about alleged Russian attacks on civilians in a country where, I repeat, refugees from Israel seek to return. Do you realize how false, pathetic and flawed you look? I hope you do.


The tragic experience of Ukraine should be a warning to all those countries where the West has set up networks of bribed NGOs and agents of influence, who are going to be used for narrow self-serving geopolitical purposes. We can see that having started this “clockwork mechanism” (that remains dormant at first), the United States and its allies will go for whatever crimes and victims and will easily turn a blind eye to any of the most heinous violations of human rights while adhering to blatant double standards. No matter how much we hear about the so-called “revolution of dignity” (no one spoke about it in this meeting yet, although it turns 10 years old today) and strengthening of Ukrainian independence, it is obvious that 10 years ago Ukraine lost all its independence and all its dignity. And it has not regained it yet, because it has not overcome the “original sin” of Maidan. And when it does, it will remain a shame and a “black stain” in the history of Ukraine and the whole world, as well as an ominous reminder of what it can cost to forsake one’s own interests and become fully subordinate to the West.

Thank you.

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