Statement and comment by Mr. Petr Iliichev, Chargé d'Affaires, at the Security Council on maintenance of international peace and security: comprehensive approach to mine action and explosive hazard threat mitigation
We appreciate Assistant Secretary-General Alexander Zuev’s first but nonetheless substantive and multilingual briefing, and listened attentively to the statement by Ms. Nathalie Ochoa Niño, United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) staffer in Colombia.
With the increasing numbers of hotbeds of tension and local conflicts, it is not just the problem of finding political settlements for them that is becoming particularly acute, but also the importance of intensifying the international community’s efforts to deal with their most immediate consequences, such as unexploded mines, improvised explosive devices and explosive remnants of war. This is a global issue, one of the most significant obstacles not only to returning refugees and temporarily displaced persons to their homes but also to restoring the overall infrastructure and economy of post-conflict regions. It also represents a serious threat to United Nations peacekeeping forces, which just since 2014 have lost 21 personnel killed and 105 injured as a result of incidents involving explosive objects. In that regard, we fully share the opinion of Secretary-General Guterres that peace without mine action is an inferior peace.
The Russian Federation considers coordinating role of UNMAS in the United Nations system very important. We intend to continue supporting its efforts to develop standards, best practices and recommendations for mine action and are ready to participate in the third expert meeting on the development of standards for the disposal of improvised explosive devices. Just as important as the theoretical efforts of UNMAS is its applied work, which is done within the framework of existing United Nations peacekeeping operations and special political missions. We also attach importance to the help it provides to requesting States, on a voluntary basis, in order to achieve qualitative improvements in their national demining capacities. It is ultimately Governments that have to bear the primary responsibility for ensuring their peoples’ safety, including from terrorist attacks. In 2014, under the auspices of its Ministry of Defence, the Russian Federation created an international mine action centre as its national contribution to international mine action. Its work is guided by international United Nations standards as well as national ones, on the basis ofwhich it trains specialists in humanitarian mine clearance.
I would also like to draw attention to the urgent need for the international community to step up demining efforts in Syria, representing a pledge to return refugees and temporarily displaced persons to their homes as quickly as possible. The Russian Federation recently initiated efforts to form a broad international coalition for mine action in Syria, and Russian servicemen are already working actively on demining the country’s territory. We hope that our partners will be able to contribute to the best of their ability to solving this humanitarian problem.
The Russian Federation is ready to work productively on the draft resolution proposed by the Bolivian delegation, which we believe has the potential to provide UNMAS with practical help in fulfilling its mandate.
Comment by Mr. Petr Iliichev, Chargé d'Affaires, at the Security Council on maintenance of international peace and security: comprehensive approach to mine action and explosive hazard threat mitigation
The statement of the representative of Ukraine, which featured simple allegations, was made with the single goal of distracting from Kyiv’s lack of resolve to implement the Minsk agreements. Unfortunately, it was no surprise that he made uncorroborated allegations and siought to besmirch Russia. Ukraine blamed Russia for the tragic incident of 23 April on the contact line, when a vehicle of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine exploded. We have heard an entire corpus of similar allegations concerning similarly tragic incidents in Ukraine, which usually come in the immediate aftermath of the incident. Afterwards, when that incident leads to an impartial investigation, Ukraine falls silent. Today, we are seeing the very same thing in spite of the fact that an international investigation is already under way.
If anyone has any information or proof, they should swiftly provide it to the specially established investigative group led by the Deputy Chair of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission. They should do that rather than get into political demagogery. We have our own data regarding the incident, but we do not speculate about it so as not to hamper the investigation.
That is why, instead of spreading uncorroborated evidence, we must deal with the actual peace process. That is especially true because the Ukrainian statement said the right thing — namely, that humanitarian demining activities can begin only after the end of the conflict. That, however, requires the swift implementation of all provisions of the Minsk agreements, first and foremost in the political field, the provision of a special status for certain areas of the Donbas and the holding of elections, as well as rebuilding the economic and banking systems and the provision of amnesty.