Let me thank Ambassador Nusseibeh for having steered our work during the month of March and wish the UK, and you Mme President, full success in our common work during this month.
Albania welcomes President Zelenskyy to this meeting. His remarks are painful and his account on what Ukraine is experiencing under Russian occupation, is revolting. We stand by you, Mr President, by your compatriots, all Ukrainians for the heroic resistance, for their resilience that the entire world is admiring.
You are not alone, you have the world on your side, because it the side of the right, of the just, and we hope for victory.
I thank SG Guterres for his clear and powerful remarks. Thank you, USG DiCarlo and USG Griffiths for the update.
This is the 14th meeting of the SC on Ukraine since 31 of January, while the war of aggression has entered the second month.
Let us establish a few basic yet meaningful facts: Russia has stalled and its imperial dreams are nowhere; taking Ukraine finally proved impossible; Kiev was too hard to swallow. Russian army is in disarray but it has not stopped shelling and bombardments.
This is not new, and this is not news.
The real news that has horrified the word is what Russia is leaving behind, the unspeakable horrors, those soul-crashing images in areas from which Russia is withdrawing.
Images of civilians executed with a bullet in the neck, sometimes with their hands tied behind their backs or shot dead on their bicycles; images of mass graves overflowing with corpses. Images of carnage and devastation, including looted homes, rape and sexual violence are acts usually attributed only to thugs.
They spring from the same cruel impulses as the bombardment of cities, homes, hospitals, schools and kindergarten by Russian forces. Bucha is an open-air graveyard, the notorious facelift of the Russian aggression.
We have heard, time and again: it is not Russia!
Yes, but No! It will be hard, actually impossible, to convince anyone that the destroyed tanks that clutter the roads, the mines and booby traps left behind amid the wreckage, and the bodies of civilians killed by arbitrary executions and laying in the streets amidst debris, are staged scenes for propaganda.
Who would believe that Russia aggressed Ukraine simply to protect civilians, while Ukraine is busy staging horror movies? You may muzzle media back home, but you cannot fool satellite images, you cannot blind independent reporters and human rights NGOs on the ground.
Waiting for Russia to accept and tell the truth is waiting for Godot to arrive.
These are facts, hard and sickening proof of the atrocities committed, the ugly face of this madness. Such crimes, as documented by HR Watch and verified by independent and respected professional reporters, those who are banned for the Russians, call for answers, for thorough investigations, for effective accountability, for justice.
Prime Minister Rama called these crimes a terrible pain and a horrible shame.
Russia has an international legal obligation to abide by international humanitarian law, the laws of war, including the Geneva Conventions of 1949, its First Additional Protocol.
Russia has an obligation to abide by the Order of ICJ to immediately halt its military activity in Ukraine.
But, unfortunately, Russia has made another choice, not to respect any of it and has canceled itself from International law.
But the law will pursue it.
Russian army and its commanders cannot escape accountability. The name of the “Butcher of Mariupol”, a criminal that has reduced an entire city to ashes, and has made its citizens go from 3 meals a day to barely 3 meals a week, is engraved in the ruins of the city.
This is why we will support the call to suspend Russia’s participation in the HRC. The UNGA resolution that created the Council, stipulates that “members of the Council will respect the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human
Russia’s standards are nauseating and its presence there is a farce, a desecration of the place that is called to be the sanctuary of rights.
Russia has announced that it will now shift its focus on the Eastern Ukraine. This means that it will concentrate its brutality there, in what may end up becoming a war of attrition.
Russia has blocked the renewal of the OSCE’s international observer mission in Ukraine. This denies the international community the independent eyes it needs there. This anticipates, sadly, more war, further atrocities, other crimes, even more humanitarian disasters.
This war continues to particularly affect women and children. Millions have been displaced, many of them alone, in search of safety and security. It is heartbreaking to see mothers write names and addresses in the back of their children so that they are recognized in case they end up being orphans.
We welcome the efforts of OCHA and its partners to deliver assistance, in support of the people in Ukraine and the millions of refugees in neighboring countries.
Let me end with this note: rarely has the outcome of a war been so disastrously the complete opposite of what it wanted to achieve.
Russia’s army has been defeated by the outgunned and outnumbered Ukrainian resistance; Russia is isolated like never in its history; it has become the world’s most sanctioned country in history.
No country has ever seen itself transform, in a matter of only 10 days, from a global player into a financial and international pariah. To the point that it is obliged to find comfort in the support from North Korea and Syria.
This aggression and its startling defeat have once and for all separated the fates of Ukrainians and Russians. Because the case of Ukraine is also the cause of democracy against tyranny and kleptocracy.
It is a fight between the will of the people against the vicious will of one, whose reckless actions have challenged everything we stand for and who is directly responsible for the economic disruption and food insecurity which is affecting the entire world.
He may choose to stop, withdraw troops and quit Ukraine, or continue to descend in the very abyss he has created and face the consequences.