Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at the Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly on the situation in Ukraine
Lately we learned that our Western partners requested a resumption of the 11th Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly on Ukraine. It is no secret that they did so in order to put to vote their allegedly humanitarian draft GA resolution. As a reason, they cite Security Council’s alleged inability to adopt a humanitarian resolution. I must say with all responsibility that when doing so, our Western colleagues act very cunningly.
The Council has every opportunity to adopt the much-anticipated humanitarian draft. And such draft will be put to vote at the Security Council. It will contain all elements, characteristic of such resolutions: call to establish a ceasefire and have humanitarian pauses to facilitate safe evacuation of civilians without any discrimination; call to not attack critical infrastructure, call to not place military equipment in residential quarters and densely populated areas; protection of humanitarian and medical personnel; proper protection of the sick and wounded, humane treatment of prisoners; protection of civilians, especially women and children. Besides, it will not be an eye-opener if I say that we took all those elements from the humanitarian draft that France and Mexico put forward to the Council earlier.
We were generally okay with that draft and ready to work on it. But then our Western colleagues insisted on including some clearly anti-Russian elements in it, without which the draft was of zero value for them. They do not seem confused by the fact that no humanitarian resolution of the Security Council contains any political assessments – they are just out of place there.
After that, the French-Mexican draft, largely cluttered with anti-Russian language, ended up in the General Assembly.
Colleagues, this is how we found ourselves in this clearly anti-Russian meeting, which allegedly fits in the humanitarian context. Statements that we already heard leave no space to doubt that. If our Western colleagues in the Security Council really care for the humanitarian situation on the ground in Ukraine, they will have an opportunity to prove this later today by voting in support of draft humanitarian resolution that Russia put forward to the Security Council. Thus the Council would fulfil its mission.
Co-sponsors of the French-Mexican draft, however, have a different task. They want to supplement the text that was voted at the GA on 2 March with another anti-Russian document. Let me say frankly that this scenario will only complicate the settlement in Ukraine, because it most likely will cheer up Ukrainian negotiators and encourage them to stick to their current unrealistic position. This position neither corresponds to the situation on the ground nor reflects the need to eliminate the root causes that made Russia start a special military operation in Ukraine a month ago.
Let me remind that we started this operation in order to stop the eight-years long Kiev’s war on the peaceful people of Donbas that has already claimed more than 10,000 lives, including the lives of women and children. It is the war that our Western colleagues either ignored or blamed on Russia and the people of Donbas themselves.
We made this hard decision when we had exhausted all peaceful and diplomatic ways of solving the conflict in Donbas. We did it once Kiev unambiguously and repeatedly confirmed that it was not going to implement the Minsk Agreements, endorsed by a UNSC resolution. Once Kiev’s Western sponsors who stood behind the 2014 Maidan takeover confirmed that they were not going to call Ukrainian authorities to reason, once President Zelensky not only confirmed Ukraine’s intention to join NATO, which is a direct threat to Russia’s critical interests, but also threatened to abandon Ukraine’s nuclear-free status. Once Ukraine dramatically intensified shelling of residential quarters of the DPR and LPR (which continues until this day), causing huge flows of refugees move to Russia.
To ensure that Ukraine no longer poses a threat to us, we need to denazify and demilitarize it, and those are the main goals of our military operation. Thereby we said it from the very start that we would not target civil facilities. Ukrainian nationalists and radicals realized this, and also realized that they would have to be accountable for the crimes committed during the 8 years, so they started to use civilians as a human shield, deploy heavy weapons in residential areas, prevent people from leaving cities through humanitarian corridors. This is what provoked a humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. To have it alleviated, we claimed ready to support a humanitarian resolution of the Security Council, and then, when French and Mexican authors moved their draft to the GA, we put forward that of our own.
We elaborate on this now to let you understand the real essence of the text that Ukraine’s Western sponsors are putting to vote at the GA. Apart from its other flaws, it creates a false one-dimensional picture of the developments, ignores the true causes of the Ukrainian crisis, and downplays the role of Western states, who view Ukraine and its people only as a pawn in the geopolitical game against Russia, in inciting that crisis. We will get back to this when the special military operation is over.
Having said this, let me call all sensible countries that have not been paralyzed by the “block discipline” to not support the draft resolution proposed by the West.
Against the backdrop of anti-Russian efforts made by our Western colleagues, we note the initiative of our partners from South Africa, who submitted an alternative text that is very close to the text that we submitted to the Security Council. We can understand the humanitarian focus of this document.
Support for the RSA draft resolution would not only send a signal to Ukraine’s peaceful population that the United Nations is aware of their situation and wants to help. Also, it would be an opportunity to express an attitude towards the unprecedented political and economic pressure that most of you have been exposed to recently through the efforts of Western states. I would hope that the majority of our colleagues will make the right and selfdependent choice.