Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on the issue of sexual violence and human trafficking in Ukraine
We thank briefers for their insights.
Accusing Russian military of committing sexual crimes has been a favourite practice of the Kiev regime and our Western colleagues ever since Russia started its special military operation in Ukraine. We remember too well how Ukrainian and Western media repeatedly accused our soldiers of committing acts of sexual violence – with reference to allegedly verified data and reports. However they offered no evidence. By the same token, no evidence was offered today either by the briefers or delegations that took the floor. Such accusations fitted well into the narrative thoughtfully created by Western political strategists that depicted Russian soldiers as beasts and boorish barbarians. That’s exactly what Goebbels's henchmen did at the final stage of WW2. Do you remember the Permanent Representative of Ukraine telling us, apparently being guided by the same fascist handbook, how Russian soldiers stole home appliances and even toilets when leaving Bucha, because “there are no toilets in Russia”?
The staging in Bucha, that our British colleagues considered to be not enough reason to convene a UNSC meeting that we had requested, has so far been the climax of this lies-based and groundless smear campaign. By now, so many inconsistencies and refutations of the official version have surfaced that our Western partners become wary of mentioning it. At the same time, baseless accusations of sexual violence do not get fewer. And today’s meeting was another proof of that.
Let me turn to colleagues who were specifically vocal about it. I would recommend to you to be careful, because none of Kiev’s allegations is backed by any proof. It was best demonstrated lately by Ukrainin Ombudsperson for human rights Liudmila Denisova. As it turned out, she overdid her job and got fired by the Kiev regime on an interesting pretext – the unclear focus on the numerous details of sexual crimes and rape of children in the occupied territories that could not be confirmed by evidence. In other words, Ms. Denisova has been lying to the whole world this entire time, which was shocking news even for the authorities in Kiev. So I call on those who relished by inertia all accusations against Russian soldiers to think carefully whether they can trust the information, or rather disinformation, that is propagated by Kiev.
It is not only about Denisova. Many cases of alleged sexual violence, that Western media caught up from Kiev’s propaganda machine, have already been refuted either by officials or the “victims” themselves. For example, the authorities of Kherson reported that there is no evidence to prove that Russian troops used sexual violence against 11 female residents of the city, as some dubious online platforms had reported previously.
Nastya Savchishin, who made the globe-circling news about “a girl raped and killed by Russians only because she is a Ukrainian”, admitted that she is fine and it was all about just a photo session, though rather strange one.
Another example. A girl whom Adviser at Ukraine's President’s Office O.Arestovich said to have been raped and humiliated by Russian troops in Gostomel, died. But it happened in Mariupol, and not Gostomel; and the perpetrators were Azov Nazis, and not Russians. There is evidence to this crime.
Our opponents confine themselves to baseless allegations, but I will give you concrete crimes committed by Ukrainian nationalists.
As reported by the Investigative Committee of Russia, criminal charges have been brought against Deputy Commander (responsible for morale building) of a fire support company of A-2777 military unit of the 36th Marine Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Senior Lieutenant Sergei Batynsky, who committed an appalling crime. At the beginning of April UAF troops from the 36th Marine Brigade detained two civilians in Mariupol, a husband and a wife, and confined them in a basement. Later on, Batynsky, in a state of intoxication, raped the women in the presence of her husband while threatening to kill her. When the husband tried to stop him, Batynsky shot him dead in plain view of the woman. Natynsky confessed to this deed during an interrogation that was shot on film and made accessible to the public.
On 7 March, military of the DPR, when mine-clearing in the vicinity of Kommunar Mine near Donetsk, discovered a burial with four female bodies. Forensic tests showed that before death, they had been raped and tortured. One of the victims was pregnant. The bodies were discovered in the area where Aidar nationalist battalion had been stationed.
On 28 March, nationalists from the Azov battalion raped and tortured a young woman to death in the building of school No18 of Mariupol. Her dismembered body with hands severed off and a swastika sign branded onto the belly shocked everyone who saw it. We mentioned this tragedy at the SC meeting on 11 April.
Currently, work is underway at the liberated territories of Ukraine, as well as in Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics to discover facts and evidence of crimes of Ukrainian Armed Forces. This work is carried our by investigative authorities of Russia, LPR and DPR.
Ukrainian nationalists are notorious for their cruelty. But even among them, there are units that went off limits even from the Kiev perspective. In the summer of 2015 there was a scandal in Ukraine around nationalist battalion “Tornado”. Ukrainian authorities accused its members of acts of pillaging, torture, violence against both men and women, pedophilia, murders, and abductions of Ukrainian civilians. Many of the perpetrators were convicted, including commander of the battalion, O.Onishchenko. But in March this year all of them were released under President Zelensky’s amnesty.
Now that almost 2500 members of Azov nationalist battalion surrendered in Mariupol, having ended meaningless resistance at the Azovstal steel works, all their crimes are being thoroughly investigated. Residents of the liberated Mariupol play an active role in this process.
Soon enough the international community will learn the truth about crimes, including sexual crimes, committed by Ukrainian nationalist formations and armed forces, whom the Kiev authorities and their Western sponsors are trying hard to glorify.
There is abundant evidence how those scums shot at civilians, medics and volunteers when the latter were aiding the wounded. Ukrainian tanks directly targeted residential buildings, and hid from Russian bombardments in residential quarters. Azovs would not let the sick and wounded out of hospitals; they set fire on premises, intimidated and humiliated civilians. A burial with up to 300 bodies was discovered in Mariupol, where eyewitnesses say Azovs dumped bodies of people they had killed while they were in control of the city.
Conflict in Ukraine boosted the industry of exploitation of Ukrainian refugees in European countries, Ms.Patten touched upon this earlier today. Judging by the available information, EU specialized agencies assess the threat of trafficking in Ukrainian refugees as rather high, taking into account the fact that in recent years Ukraine has ranked among top 5 states states in terms of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Europe. This problem must remain in focus of attention, because violence against and exploitation of refugees in European states must be precluded.
It is no secret to anybody how the West receives much-suffered female refugees from Ukraine. In Las Vegas, there are billboards inviting strippers from Ukraine to auditions. In Germany, fast food chain KFC displayed an ad poster with the inscription “Chicks from Ukraine are very welcome to Germany” against an image of a bed as a background. Hard to believe that this is only an innocent commercial. Apparently, this is only the top of the iceberg. Yet it shows how high risks of sexual exploitation of Ukrainian refugees in the West are. We all have seen the terrifying footage of sadist treatment of Russian detainees and PoWs by Ukrainian military that rapidly spread on the Internet. Ukrainian nationalists are just as cruel to the peaceful population of Donbas and southeastern Ukraine in general, whom they only perceive as separatists that back in 2014 chose to be autonomous from the Maidan authorities. Also, this is how they treat women without any ruth or mercy.
Once again, we refute all allegations against Russian military with regard to sexual violence. This is a lie that we strongly reject. We say with all responsibility that all actions of Russian military abide by strict rules. The law prescribes a tough punishment for attempted violence against civilians. To us, compliance with the international humanitarian law is an overriding priority. Unfortunately, same cannot be said about members of Ukrainian armed forces and nationalist battalions. So if you truly want to combat the practice of sexual crimes in Ukraine, do not turn a blind eye to numerous cases of such crimes committed by Ukrainian military. Even though political considerations ensourage you to ignore this obnoxious practice.
In conclusion, let me raise some episodes that do not directly relate to the topic of this meetings.
We have taken note of US and Great Britain’s plans to deliver long range artillery and multiple rocket launch systems to Ukraine. Leaving aside the little convincing rationale behind such step, let me draw your attention to the fact that Kiev has already interpreted it as a carte blanche to continue bombarding civil facilities in Donbas, which Ukrainian artillery, after some recent defeats, can no longer reach.
Thus, the US-manufactured ammunition that has been delivered to Ukraine lately, is alkready used to launch strikes against facilities in Donbas, including schools and other institutions of education. There are casualties, including among children. We already spoke about it at a meeting on 2 June. There is no military expediency in such shelling, and Kiev knows that. So you should also know that your countries become direct accomplices in UAF crimes in Donbas – with all the consequences that come with it.
Recent statements by Ukrainian representatives make it clear that Kiev regime does not envisage any limits to using long range artillery and rocket launchers. Those statements do not reconcile with the words of American and British representatives who say that there are such restrictions. Against this backdrop, statements made by some Western officials, in particular Secretary of State Blinken, according to whom Kiev will not use US multiple rocket launch systems against targets on the territory of Russia do not sound convincing. In fact, when saying so, head of US diplomacy tries to legalize strikes against LPR and DPR that kill civilians, including children.
In this regard, we not only reserve the right to shift the line of Nazi threat to Russia and the Donbas republics farther, to the distance that can be covered by the new long range projectiles; and also to target centers where decisions are made to use such types of weapons.
Also I cannot fail to mention that due to widely known off-scale corruption of Ukrainian officials, weapons delivered from the US and Europe are almost openly traded at the Ukrainian black market. A simple Internet search would show that American Stingers are offered for 7,000 dollars each, and Javelins – for 30,000 dollars. The choice of firearms and ammunition goes over the top. Of course, international terrorists, including those who are active in Europe and America, will not hesitate to avail of such sales. So let me warn you right off – when your people start asking you some tough questions, do not think to shift the blame on us.