Let me thank USG Di Carlo and USG Nakamitsu, for their information.
I would like to make the following points:
First, we meet at the request of Russia following its allegations on a possible program of development of biological weapons in Ukraine. We listened carefully to their statement.
Any issue regarding weapons of mass destruction should never be taken lightly.
As we just heard from the USG, the United Nations is not aware of any of the alleged programs inconsistent with international treaty obligations, including on chemical or biological weapons. We heard about health facilities in Ukraine.
We have heard, repeatedly, a firm rebuttal, at the highest levels, from both the US and Ukraine. Therefore, we view Russia’s allegations as part of an information warfare, false, unsubstantiated, and part of the usual propaganda and the disinformation coming from Russia. Conspiracy theories that are not worth our time.
The Council should not be served with fantasies and starry-eyed stories, but with proof, independently verified and corroborated. This is not the case.
However regrettable all this is, it is hardly surprising since everything, absolutely everything, we have heard from Russia regarding Ukraine has been false, fabricated, and distorted.
These are in the public space and do not deserve mention, but the “Palme d’Or” goes to the Russian declaration, just two days ago, according to which, Russia claimed it had not attacked Ukraine. Well, as we saw last week, the UN General Assembly has a different account.
In every other situation, everyone would have thought this is a joke, except for the fact that this “joke” is destroying a country, is killing civilians and is responsible for more than 2.5 million refugees and counting. That translates to 7 thousand people per hour! Reportedly, this is also responsible for the death of several thousand Russian soldiers, but this is an issue for Russia and its people. All the more reasons for an immediate ceasefire to leave a place to negotiations.
Second, Madam President, Russia has a long and well-documented track record of using chemical weapons, including in attempted assassinations and in poisoning its citizens, like the jailed opposition leader, Alexey Navalny, or the Skripals. Bellingcat reporting has brilliantly been able to make a direct and irrefutable link of the attempted deadly poisoning with the GRU high officials.
We should, therefore, be very worried that in spreading such disinformation, a crescendo of allegations about weapons of mass destruction, could serve as yet another pretext for Russia to prepare the ground and use chemical or biological weapons during its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, while accusing others.
After all, Russia has accused Ukraine of Genocide in Donbas, which is ridiculous; it has also accused Kyiv of seeking to produce nuclear weapons, which is outrageous; and it has accused Ukraine of bombarding its own cities, which is preposterous.
As we have heard many times here, including yesterday, Russia has and continues to support the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, which has used chemical weapons against the civilian population.
What should retain our attention and deserves our time, is the escalating situation that is wreaking two countries, threatening a whole continent, and disrupting the entire world.
15 days into this brutal invasion and the growing armored might of Russia, with the open complicity of Belarus, has stalled before the steel-clad and indisputable right of a nation to defend its land.
Russia’s goals are as abhorrent as the means it is using to achieve them. We are horrified by the catastrophic situation in Mariupol and other inhumanly besieged cities where civilians are starved; by the use of cluster ammunition and in urban areas; by the redoubling of blind shelling and bombardments; by more than 26 assaults on various health-related facilities and/or ambulances as confirmed by WHO; and by the outrageous and immoral acts which constitute war crimes.
Nothing seems to be going as planned in Ukraine. The unprovoked, unjustified and premeditated act of aggression by Russia, with the complicity of Belarus, lacks any legal or moral ground. They are the very ones that, in turn, empower Ukrainians to fight heroically, be ready to die for the ideals they believe in, for the right to choose who they want to be, and to be the shapers of their own destiny. In this respect, we welcome the conclusions of the European Council, which, among others, welcomed the will of Ukraine to join the European Union.
We are warm-hearted by the Ukrainian resistance, incomprehensible to the invader, and which should be seen as an inspiration and a reminder that freedom prevails over tyranny.
Let us not forget: if Russia makes its way into Ukraine, it will not stop there, it will want more. History reminds us, aggression works like a drug.
This is why David must and will prevail.