Vassily Nebenzia: “What about your commitment to the protection of civilians?”

13:03 16.05.2023 •

Photo: Permanent mission of the Russian Federation to the UN

Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia (photo) made a statement at UNSC briefing on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine.

There are some important points:

- Before I start, I must flag the hypocrisy behind the convening of this Security Council meeting on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine. No such meetings of the Council were held in April. Neither France and Ecuador, nor other Western delegations showed any interest whatsoever in Ukraine’s state of humanitarian affairs. Yet today we see the EU member states basically line up to read out their copycat statements.

- This is another clear illustration that behind all this, there is no real concern for the lives of people who live in Ukraine, far less for those living in the liberated areas of Donbas. By the same token, Western delegations were never interested in the situation of ordinary people of Donbas since 2014.

- Today we are not going to hear from them a word of condemnation of another atrocious shelling of Donetsk by Ukrainian forces on 28 April. The targeted artillery strike hit a commuter bus full of people. The vehicle burned down completely, nine people were killed including one child. Forensic tests showed that the bombardment used high-explosive rockets for MLRS produced in Slovakia. The same projectiles were used in a strike against the Transfiguration Cathedral in Donetsk that took place during the all-night Easter service.

- Our today’s briefer had nothing to say about it too. What about your commitment to the protection of civilians? Or do you think those are the wrong civilians?

- Responsibility for these crimes rests not only with the Kiev regime, but also with those who supply Kiev with weapons. Even now, when there seems to be no more room for pump-up of weapons to Ukraine, reports keep coming in on a daily basis that increasingly heavy and sophisticated Western weapons continue to arrive in Ukraine, including HIMARS, projectiles with depleted uranium, long-range artillery systems, hundreds of tanks and so on.

- All those weapons that are being provided i.a. by Security Council member states who are represented in this chamber, and who claim so concerned about the humanitarian consequences of the Ukrainian conflict, kill civilians daily. Those weapons kill women and children, destroy schools and hospitals in the DPR and LPR, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions. NATO’s entire war machinery is aimed at those areas. The Kiev authorities brag of being “legally authorized to destroy whatever is located in there”.

- At this point, let me respond to all those who have or will raise this today. Russian armed forces do not confront the peaceful populations. Unlike the Ukrainian armed forces, we do not launch precision strikes against civilians.

- Western states are widely known to be very keen on the issue of countering impunity, especially if this is not impunity for their own crimes. They think they got away with killing millions of civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and other countries. But we are confident that day will come when they are held accountable for the crimes committed.

- No threats of imposing sanctions on the judges (as was the case with investigations of American war crimes in Afghanistan), intimidation of eye-witnesses and investigative journalists, silencing down of facts – nothing will help. We already see that developing states that stick to neutral positions on Ukraine are rather defiant of the pressure that they are exposed to.

- Annalena Baerbock said lately that prospects of weapons deliveries by third countries to Russia are unacceptable, because this may be equaled to involvement in conflict. If so, what should we do about the fact that the whole Western military capacity is now being employed for the purposes of war? Her words were just another testimony proving that the West participates in this conflict directly.

- With total connivance of Western sponsors, Kiev does not hesitate to use terrorist methods. Among its crimes – terrorist attack on the Crimean Bridge, killings of journalists Daria Dugina and Maxim Fomin, attempted assassination of Zakhar Prilepin that killed his friend, Alexander Shubin.

On 3 May, the FSB of Russia reported prevention of assault plans against the leadership of the Republic of Crimea by intelligence units of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry. Head of Ukrainian intelligence Kirill Budanov explicitly stated that they were ready to “kill Russian across the globe”. After the attack on Prilepin, Ukrainian state information agency UNIAN posted a poll with a question which Russian should be eliminated next. What is it if not an incitement to terrorism?

- It is our understanding that as long as capital flows to Ukraine, it is going to be managed by American financial company BlackRock, with which Kiev signed an agreement lately to establish a Ukraine Development Fund. Under the guise of raising private investment for large-scale projects in key areas of the economy, Ukraine’s state sovereignty is in fact being transferred under the external corporate management of the world's major investment fund that is based in New York.

- Most of the food that is exported from Ukraine (and which was supposed to go to the countries of the Global South) ends up within the European Union. It is a fact and the most telling demonstration of the true essence of Brussels’ celebrated humanitarian initiatives. May I remind that the launch of “solidarity lanes” came along with extra measures for liberalization of Ukrainian exports to the EU, which facilitated access for Ukrainian food to the domestic EU market rather than the markets of developing states.

- However nothing went as planned. As of 4 May 2023, 40 % of all products that have been exported via the humanitarian sea corridor, went to the EU states. The share of poorest countries in this turnover does not reach even 3 %.


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