New York, 12 September 2023
Thank you, USG Nakamitsu for the briefing.
No matter how much one can try to shift the attention of the Council and of the UN through such meetings, nothing will change the fundamental issue at hand: an unjust and deadly war is going on and a country is deliberately destroyed, because in the minds of the perpetrators, it has to be punished for bad behavior!
We have brought the issue of crimes committed in Ukraine may times and for good reason. After the Commission of Inquiry, after the Moscow mechanism, after the SRSG on sexual violence, it is the turn of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Allice Jill Edwards, to render its findings and the conclusion. She visited Ukraine from 4 to 10 September. Referring to the findings on the atrocities by the Russian troops in Ukraine, the preliminary report states among others that “These grievous acts appear neither random nor incidental, but rather orchestrated as part of a State policy to intimidate, to instill fear, to punish, or to extract information and confessions”.
This should have been our focus today instead of another attempt to artificially overload the work of the Security Council with topics of convenience.
The core issue is and will remain for as long as this war goes on: Russia has initiated an unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine, representing a threat to European security, with an economic and humanitarian impact worldwide.
The General Assembly of UN, the ICJ and other international bodies have clearly condemned this aggression, as violation of UN Charter and international law.
The international community remains committed to support Ukraine politically, diplomatically, economically, and militarily, to defend its country, the UN Charter, the peace and security in Europe and the international rules-based order.
Article 51 of the UN Charter is a clear legal basis for individual States to offer whatever assistance to a country exercising its inherent right to self-defense, in defense of its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
We reiterate that the arms transfer to Ukraine has been conducted in accordance with national legislation, the Arms Trade Treaty, the obligations arising from these acts and the assessment of the risk of diversion. An ad-hoc Commission, established by the Ukrainian Parliament is responsible for monitoring the entire process, so that weapons are used for defense purposes and do not fall in the wrong hands.
While Kremlin seems concerned that the arms supply to Ukraine are prolonging the conflict, it is desperately looking for weapons in the DPRK and Iran. This is another violation of the UN SC resolutions, that have clear restrictions on such activities with these states.
According to this logic, the so-called “Western arms supply” to Ukraine is prolonging the war, whereas the arms supply from DPRK and Iran to Russia it seems contributes to the peace. We are talking about a permanent Member of SC!
The same tale as we heard today again the attempt of Russia to establish similarities between its military aggression in Ukraine and the Republic of Kosova. It is and remains a desperate attempt which we refute. It is even more ridiculous is the recycling of the most absurd complot they will receive ever. The so called trafficking of organs between Kosova and Albania.
No one, I repeat no one, including the ICTY who investigated for several years, has ever found any evidence for such claims. And this for a simple reason that there is not any.
Now Russia is trying to use the same tale, the same arguments against Ukraine. No one is surprised of this propaganda but it is unfortunate that the Security Council is used for such international distorted narrative to hide their crimes, which in turn have been verified, documented and will one day be presented in a court of law. The problem is not Kosova. The issue here is the Russian aggression and its consequences.
The arms supply to Ukraine are the consequences of the Russian military aggression. Therefore, only Russia can bring it to an end, by withdrawing its troops from the internationally recognized borders of Ukraine and giving the peace efforts a real chance.
Reply to Russia:
I will not continue with the tale of the organ trafficking, but I will stress that NATO’s operations in Kosovo in 1999 followed over a year of intense diplomatic efforts by the UN and the contact group of which Russia was a member to the end of the conflict. The UN Security Council repeatedly branded the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo and the mounting number of refugees as the threat to international peace and security. NATO’s mission helped to end large scale and sustained violations of human rights and the killings of civilians. KFOR, NATO’s ongoing peacekeeping mission in Kosova, has a UN Security Council mandate and is supported by both Kosova and Serbia.
I’ll conclude here.