I thank ASG Jenca for his briefing on the recent developments in Ukraine.
Let’s go back in time for a second: At the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Kremlin rushed to convince the world that Russia had no plans for an occupation of Ukrainian territories, that the sole purpose of the military intervention was the country’s demilitarization focused entirely on military infrastructures and finally the civilian population had nothing to fear.
After 562 days of a relentless war, we know that everything is false, all is a big lie, and that the harsh reality has left the emperor without clothes.
Now we know, that Russia’s aim was to deny Ukraine its existence; when it failed, it focused on Eastern part of Ukraine.
The sad truth is that Russia has never stopped bombarding urban and residential areas, with shelling, missiles and drones, flying into homes and apartment buildings.
Entire villages, towns, and cities have already been reduced to smithereens. Around 50% of Ukraine’s power generation infrastructure has been destroyed and now Russia is attacking ports and gain silos. Large swathes of the eastern regions have been turned into mine fields.
Instead of achieving demilitarization, Russia’s policy became, unwillingly, in a totally adverse effect, the biggest sponsor to making Ukraine much stronger, better armed and more equipped to defend itself.
As to the protection of civilians, it couldn’t even qualify as a bad joke. Around 10 thousand Ukrainians have lost their lives; millions have been displaced within and outside the country and thousands of children have been forcefully deported to Russia. Only two days ago, 17 people including one child were killed by a missile in a public market in Donbas.
Give the total fiasco of its initial plans, the Kremlin went back to its playbook: first, it invaded territory; next, it forced Ukrainians to leave, and right after, it started the déjà vu charade of legitimization of the invasion.
In September last year, 143 states of the General Assembly of the United Nations condemned the sham referenda on Annexation of four Ukrainian regions, declaring that they have no validity under international law.
Now, Russia is planning to conduct illegal local elections in four regions of Ukraine.
We have some simple questions which call for straightforward answers:
Under which part of international law has Russia attacked and occupied parts of the territory of another country, its neighbor, Ukraine?
Under which article of the UN Charter has Russia annexed part of the territory of the same country, Ukraine?
How does the position of a Permanent Member of the Security Council which is entrusted by the UN membership with the noble duty of upholding the UN Charter and ensuring peace and security, cope with the behavior of a rogue state, which is breaking the law, killing civilians and committing crimes?
The answers to these questions are crucial as they will determine not only what will happen in Ukraine, but also in Europe and the world we live in.
Because if we accept that international law can be broken at will, if what we have built for 78 years can be easily undone by anyone, the world of tomorrow will not be sitting on the rule of law but on the law of the jungle.
We don’t a world with has-been behaviors and with never-to-be-conducts. No one wants to live in a neighborhood with a bully that assaults your home, harms your family and steals your belongings.
The legislation and the Institutions of the Russian Federation have no legal effect, validity or business within the international recognized borders of Ukraine.
Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, Zaporizhia, Crimea, are part of the Ukraine and the Russian illegal actions will not be able to change it.
All persons involved in the organization of these so-called elections are committing illegal actions and, one day, they will be held accountable.
Russia may hope that will time, its policy of “fait accompli”, this will end up to be accepted in silence, by a fatigued international community.
They are wrong. Its illegal actions are “null and void” and its territory grab will not be accepted.
War in Ukraine is a defining moment and cannot become the new normal.
It must be put to an end because its end means ending imperial ambitions.
We know that the war in Ukraine is not confined to Ukraine; it already has global implications, for energy, for food supplies, for multilateralism, international institutions including this Council, which is becoming more and more ineffective.
We reiterate our call on Russia to stop the war, engage into dialogue to finding solution through negotiations not by force, go back to the grain deal and stop using food security as a weapon.
The sooner the Kremlin accepts that this war is a dangerous dead end, the better will be for all, for Ukraine and its people, for the Europe and its security, for the developing world and the millions in need, but also for the Russians and their future.
Right of Reply
I will make a further statement as representative of Albania.
I started my national statement today by mentioning the discrepancy between the Russian narrative and the reality. We heard more of the same today. The Russian delegation tried to make a parallel with the Republic of Kosova. Nothing could be less accurate and farther from the truth.
Kosova cannot and will not be used as a fig leave or camouflage for Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine and its attempts for annexation.
Kosova became independent after a bloody war and a long international process of peace talks, and Russia has been a part of it.
The International Court of Justice was asked and it responded that the declaration of Independence of Kosova was in line with the International Law.
I wish Russia conformed with the ICJ rulings in the same way and there one, issued in March 2022, ordering Russia to stop the war, with which Russia must abide by.
I have said it many time and I will repeat because this is important :
Kosova and Serbia do not fight, they meet, they talk and are bound by a process of dialogue, not an easy one, but a real and substantial one, to solve pending issues and march towards their common future, in peace and cooperation.
As to the comments regarding rule 37, I want to assure our Russian colleagues that the Presidency is committed to maintaining an orderly conduct of business of the Council.
The Presidency in full respect of the Provisional Rules of Procedure (rule 37) and Note 507, including past practices of this Council, and in prior consultation with the members of the Council, has accepted the request by non-members of the Council to participate in today’s meeting.