Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on Ukraine

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January 10, 2024


We should like to state for the record that we strongly disagree with the approach adopted by the French Presidency, despite our objections, regarding the invitation to today’s meeting of delegations under Rules 37 and 39. Their total number, including Ukraine, is six – the EU, Italy, Poland, Estonia, Germany and Ukraine. Denmark, Greece and Romania will submit written contributions. This is obviously too much for such a format as a briefing, which (unlike an open debate where wider UN membership can take part) suggests a more focused discussion. In addition, all these states, with the exception of Ukraine, are members of the European Union (in addition to the EU delegation itself). As we have seen time and again, there is no added value to their statements in UNSC discussions. They are the same carbon-copied points that go in line with the common position of the EU and NATO. The only purpose for which these delegations come to the Security Council is to read out their position “on camera” for consumption by audiences at home. We believe that this approach undermines the authority of this Council.

We regret that French Presidency, that claims committed to Security Council’s rules of procedure undermines its established working practice.


It is no secret that today’s meeting was convened by our Western colleagues for appearances’ sake so they can deliver on their cynical “monthly plan for Ukraine” in the Security Council and read out once again the same anti-Russian propaganda. While doing so, they will claim committed to international humanitarian law and lament vociferously the deaths of civilians.

However, not all ordinary people are honored with even this hypocritical sympathy. The West distinguishes between “important” civilians, whose deaths can be used to vilify one’s geopolitical rivals, and “unimportant” civilians, whose lives are seen as collateral damage and sometimes almost a “just sacrifice”. This is a stunningly cynical and, in fact, pure colonial approach, which we have seen many times: in Africa, in the Middle East, and in Eastern Europe. Peaceful Gazans, Syrians, Libyans, Iraqis, Afghans, not to mention Russians and Ukrainians, are nothing more than faceless figures on death rolls.

On December 30, in a fit of impotent rage, the Kiev regime, encouraged by British and American advisers, fired cluster munitions from MLRS at residential areas of the Russian city of Belgorod. The main blow fell on a Christmas fair where parents were at leisure with their children. Twenty-five people were killed, including five children, and more than 100 people were injured. There were no military facilities nearby, but that is exactly where Kiev was aiming. This premeditated war crime was designed to cause terror among Russians. However, our Western colleagues did not utter a single word of regret. On the contrary, some of them even justified it. In particular, the Foreign Ministry of France, who is currently presiding over the Security Council, called Kiev’s terrorist attacks on Belgorod an exercise of the right to self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter. It is regrettable that France, following in the footsteps of Anglo-Saxon diplomacy, has degenerated so much. Do you realize that this is how you become responsible for these crimes?

Targeted attacks against residential quarters of Russian cities of Donetsk, Belgorod, and Kursk continue.

What was the reaction in Russia? President V.Putin said that Russia will not target areas where mothers take their babies for a walk to. “We hit with precision weapons their decision-making centers, places where military personnel and mercenaries are stationed, as well as other centers of this kind, military facilities.” Russia does and will continue to strike Ukrainian military targets and infrastructure that support Kiev’s military capacity.

Behavior of the Czech Republic is rather indicative. Trying to escape responsibility for complicity (through the supply of ammunition) in the terrorist attack in Belgorod, Czech representatives feared appearing at the Security Council meeting on December 30. No wonder, since it is much harder to answer for the deaths of civilians in front of the global community than to hide behind the backs of “senior partners” in NATO.

No better than the “civilized democracies” are international organizations who keep shamefully silent each and every time there is a need to condemn the blatant crimes of the Kiev regime. Apart from some generalized rhetoric, the UN Secretariat produced no adequate reaction to the terrorist attack in Belgorod.

Against this backdrop, Kiev’s so-called peace formula and the convening of another meeting in Davos look particularly cynical and hypocritical. I should like to emphasize that this pseudo-peacemaking initiative, which is essentially an ultimatum to Russia, has nothing to do with resolving the situation in Ukraine. Any discussion of the conflict without the participation of our country is doomed to failure. For our part, we have never refused to negotiate, but the language of ultimatums is unacceptable to us. We also demand that the United Nations Secretariat, while playing along with dubious formats, should remember its obligation to be guided by Article 100 of the Charter of the United Nations.


Ukraine’s counter-offensive has failed. Both the ruling elites in Ukraine and Western political establishment have admitted that. Ukrainian military personnel who have been thrown to the front line also say this frankly. Ukrainian soldiers share in their interviews that in an effort to show the West “at least some progress”, Ukrainian leadership has thrown them “like a piece of meat to the wolves”, which was followed by heavy losses.

The monstrous cynicism of Kiev’s sponsors shows in the fact that for the sake of their goal to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia, they are ready to justify any crime and exterminate the maximum number of Ukrainian soldiers. This is unfortunate. They do not care for civilian either.

Recently, the head of European diplomacy, J.Borrell, and the Polish Foreign Ministry announced the need to expand military aid to Kiev and supply long-range missiles. The US Administration, too, fights with its own Congress and its own population to carry on with military aid to Kiev. At the same time, they state cynically that UAF can pick its own targets. The population of the United States and European countries should know, however, that their weapons strike Christmas markets, residential houses, women, the elderly, and children.

Today, Western members on the Council have read out copy-pasted statements about Russia allegedly using munitions from the DPRK in the course of its special military operation in Ukraine. As is often the case, the instructions came from Washington. On Friday, White House spokesperson J.Kirby spread another fake on this topic when talking live to the reporters. Another interesting fact is that on the same day, the spokesperson of Ukraine’s Air Force, Y. Ignat, denied this information. He said that Kiev did not have any evidence of that. It turns out that the United States replicates deliberately false information without even bothering to give a heads-up to its direct subjects.


Now to the humanitarian situation. We cannot fail to note the efforts of the delegations of France and Ecuador to retain their formal role as penholders of the Ukrainian humanitarian file in the Security Council. There are reasons to believe that against the backdrop of the exacerbating Palestinian-Israeli conflict, where attempts are being made under the US patronage to wipe off the entire population of the Gaza Strip, the convening of today’s meeting is intended to provide moral support to the regime in Kiev, whose failures on the front have started to recede to the background.

Today, again, we heard the mantras of Western delegations about the dire humanitarian situation in Ukraine and the problems in the energy sector with the onset of cold weather. Indeed, Ukraine is going through difficult times. And we empathize with the brotherly Ukrainian people, who have to endure many hardships because of the corrupt leadership of their country, which is ready to sacrifice its national interests and the lives of its citizens in order to deliver on the instructions of Western sponsors. After all, their support is the only thing that allows the Kiev junta to remain in power. Having bought into the generous but empty promises of their overseas friends, this government has led Ukraine to economic and political collapse and turned it into a failed state whose political system is assuming distinct totalitarian features.

Since the beginning of the conflict in Donbas in 2014, the Ukrainian military has launched targeted attacks against critical civilian infrastructure, primarily water and heating facilities. In addition, they destroy medical and educational institutions. For 8 years, at least 50 thousand civilian infrastructure facilities were either destroyed or damaged in the Donbas republics. Since February 2022, more than 16,000 residential buildings and almost 3,500 civilian infrastructure facilities have been devastated or damaged, including about 700 educational and more than 180 medical institutions, 1,100 electricity, water, heat and gas supply facilities. These figures will never make it to UN reports due to the bias of the UN Secretariat.

Today many words have been said about solidarity with Ukraine, which Western sponsors are supposedly still willing to support. However, it appears that continued support has long evolved into enslaving the Ukrainian economy and, therefore, the population of the entire country. Ukraine’s foreign debt has increased to a record $132 billion or 89% of GDP since 2022. The staggering funds allocated to Ukraine by the IMF, the EU, and Washington are driving the country into a debt pit for decades to come. The US financial company ‘Black Rock,’ with which Kiev has signed an agreement on establishing the ‘Development Fund for Ukraine’, looks forward to making profits. But what is actually taking place under the guise of attracting private investment for large-scale projects in key areas of the economy is the transfer of state sovereignty under the external corporate management of the world’s largest investment fund. Here we cannot but recall that over the past 10 years the amount of Ukrainian arable land to have come under the control of primarily American agro-industrial trans-national corporations has exceeded 4 million hectares.

We very much want to hope that Ukrainians will realize that for the past two years, they have been but a pawn in the West’s confrontation with Russia.

Thank you.

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