Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on Western arms deliveries to Ukraine
We thank the briefers and in particular Mr.Kovalik, because he dwelt on the issue which is one of the reasons why we called this meeting, namely – the implications for international peace and security of the worldwide smuggle of arms that were delivered to Ukraine.
We also called this meeting so that Security Council members can assess the impact that the ongoing massive pumping of Ukraine with Western weapons is having on the prospects for ending the Ukrainian conflict. Another important aspect that deserves the Security Council's assessment is the implications of the growing smuggling of these weapons into various regions of the globe for international peace and security.
As you all remember, soon after we started the special military operation, which has demilitarization of Ukraine among its goals, it became obvious that the own combat capacity of Ukrainian forces was exhausted. So the moment when the Kiev regime would have stopped posing threats to our country was approaching rapidly. Such a scenario, however, would not satisfy our Western partners, who carried out an illegitimate coup d'etat in Ukraine in 2014, encouraged arrant nationalism and Russophobia, reequipped the Ukrainian military while pretending to monitor the implementation of the Minsk Agreements – all in order to fulfil their geopolitical plans and weaken Russia. The fact that the Minsk Agreements were but a smokescreen for rearming the UAF, was confirmed recently by former German Chancellor A.Merkel.
So the West started saying that they must not let Ukraine lose. First of all, once defeated it allegedly would cease to exist as an independent state (though we never announced such plans). Their second point was that “militarism and imperial ambitions of the Kremlin” allegedly were not limited to Ukraine alone and that Kiev was defending not only itself, but the whole free world. This nonsense is not worth even commenting on. However these two points which are absolutely false became the reason why the West launched a frantic campaign to rearm Ukraine and extend indirect military support to it. This is when the US and its NATO allies started their war by proxy against Russia that should last until the last Ukrainian.
Colleagues, no state in history ever received such immense military support. Just think of it. As reported by the US Center for International Policy, the total volume of Washington’s military assistance to Kiev from February to the beginning of October amounted to 40 billion USDs. Add to this the billions pledged or already allocated by the European Union or Great Britain, and you will see that weapons and military assistance for Ukraine cost more than military budgets of the majority of NATO states. Apart from weapons, the US and NATO also provide Kiev with intelligence data, i.a. from satellites, provide access to Internet for Ukrainian formations, train and brief them. Furthermore, add to this thousands (if not tens of thousand) of foreign mercenaries and personnel of private military companies, of whose existence we learn only when we see their dead bodies or hear radio communications. When summing it all up, a question begs itself: is it really Ukrainians who are opposed to the Russian forces in that country? One thing can be said for sure: without the mentioned military assistance, the hostilities in Ukraine would have ended long time ago. Even leaders of the felonious Kiev regime acknowledge that.
Apart from prolonging the meaningless agony of the Kiev clique and continued suffering of ordinary Ukrainians, what are the other consequences of these shortsighted steps by our Western opponents? Let’s see.
We quite quickly disable the old Soviet-style armaments and ammunition in Ukraine. Since there are not many of those left, the West more frequently supplies Zelensky’s regime with newer Western weapons, among which we can see long-range rocket and artillery systems. Those are worth a separate point, because they make it possible for the UAF to target peaceful areas of Donbas which Ukrainian artillery was not able to reach earlier.
Examples are plenty. Yesterday we circulated in the Security Council and the General Assembly a letter from a public organization from Donetsk called “Fair Protection”, which provides an account of indiscriminate shelling of residential and densely populated quarters. It follows from this letter that in the recent weeks a massacre has been taking place in Donetsk that involved Western weapons. Being encouraged by the West, Ukrainian punitive teams are trying to raze the city down to the ground. With some kind of frenzied malice, they carry out rolling bombardments daily that hit residential areas where there are no and cannot be any military targets. Another criminal bombardment of this kind took place earlier today. Crowded places are hit during rush hours which leads to significant casualties and destruction. For example, on 4 December a 155-mm guided artillery shell M982 Excalibur hit the sporting center “Druzhba”, which is the location where the civilians can get some drinking water, because back in February Ukraine disconnected Donbas from its only source of water supply. But our Western colleagues fail to notice this, because they denied the people of Donbas their right to a decent life 8 years ago. We regret that the UN Secretariat did not have the courage to condemn the bombardments of Donetsk, though they remained very vocal on strikes launched against the territory of Ukraine.
Since 27 November 2022, 22 civilians have been killed in Donbas, most of them were the residents of Donetsk. 83 civilians were injured. 234 apartment buildings and 106 private housings were damaged, as well as 31 educational and 92 infrastructure facilities.
I underscore that those were not the consequences of the air defense missile falling on residential buildings, as sometimes happens in Ukrainian cities, but rather the targeted purposeful strikes against civil facilities and people’s houses.
Ukraine’s armed formations without second thought use NATO-supplied artillery to attack facilities that store hazardous materials. On 7 December they hit the operating chemical facility “Stirol” in Gorlovka. The shells hit the sulfur storage, which caused a fire. Burning sulfur is not dangerous by itself, but when combined with water, sulfuric acid is formed, which can trigger an acid rain in certain weather conditions.
From among all weapons that the West delivers to Ukraine, HIMARS rocket launchers deserve a special mention. We know for sure, and Kiev and Washington confirmed this indirectly on many occasions, that US experts take part in operating those systems. A HIMARS is aimed at its target by US military satellites, and US military do the coordination of satellite data on the ground, upload precise coordinates to HIMARS software and carry out performance control. Kiev’s representatives admitted that not a single strike from HIMARS can be launched without coordination with the Americans.
We keep hearing claims that those are high tech and high precision weapons, which allegedly always hit their targets. So what are the “military targets” in Donbas that were hit by HIMARS upon Washington’s approval?
I will only cite a few: a kindergarten in Snezhnoe, an arts school in Bryanka, a hotel in Krasniy Luch, a volunteer center in Stepano-Krynka, a swimming pool, a school, and a candy factory in Stakhanov, a resort in Alchevsk, cultural centers in Nizhnyaya Duvanka, Gorskoe, and Yasinovataya, agricultural vocational training school in Novoaydarsk. Among the victims are personnel of those facilities – teachers, medics, volunteers, candy makers. US missiles killed dozens of civilians. As recently as this past Monday, HIMARS rockets damaged the academic buildings and the dormitory of the Donbas State Technological Institute in Alchevsk. You can find more detailed accounts in the letter of the Donetsk-based NGO that we circulated.
Can those numerous recorded strikes against civil facilities have happened by mistake or by accident? It is obvious that this is the conscious and deliberate involvement of the United States and NATO in the crimes of the Kiev regime. Vendors who supplied those weapons to Ukraine are equally responsible for civilian casualties and devastation of social and civil infrastructure as Ukrainian artillery and MLRS operators.
But the involvement of the US and NATO in hostilities in Ukraine is not limited to this fact. According to the incoming reports, attacks on Russian strategic airports “Dyagilevo” and “Engels” were carried out with the help of data from US satellites. Modernized Soviet UAVs TU-141 “Strizh” were aimed at their targets by means of the American Global Positioning System.
When commenting on the attacks, US Secretary of State A.Blinken asserted that the US had “neither encouraged nor enabled the Ukrainians to strike inside of Russia”.
However CEO of Raytheon Technologies Corporation G.Hayes said directly on 8 December, “We work with the government to provide real-time intelligence on the battlefield in Ukraine”, including “when missiles are launched”.
We keep record of all such criminal acts by the United States and its allies. There will be concrete legal consequences for all those involved. We also track and destroy the equipment delivered. Since the volumes of this equipment in the European warehouses also decrease rapidly, Washington and the allies have started to engage closely with the third countries, purchasing weapons and military equipment from them and redirecting it to Ukraine. Foreign Minister of Ukraine D.Kuleba recently confirmed the fact of such deals.
The legitimacy of such steps is still to be assessed. By doing what they are doing, Western states violate the obligations under the International Arms Trade Treaty, which envisages a ban on arms exports to the regions where it can entail violations of international humanitarian law and escalate conflicts. This does not seem to bother them, so they go even farther. On 30 November Secretary of State Blinken said they were looking into ways to restart manufacturing at Eastern European factories to support old Soviet-era weapons system for subsequent transfer to the Kiev regime. However the manufacturing of Soviet and Russian weaponry at those enterprises was regulated by corresponding inter-governmental agreements that stipulated an obligation to not transfer the manufactured products without our consent. So basically the United States is driving those countries towards violating the fundamental norms in the area of arms control. This is another manifestation of the notorious “rules-based order”, where rules are in breach of the international law.
The fact that weapons that are initially delivered to Ukraine then spread across the globe is a big deal. At our meeting in September, we already warned about the risks of those weapons ending up in the hands of terrorist and criminal groups.
Those are not out fantasies, but the warnings and concerns raised by police authorities of European states that encounter such problems. The police of Finland received operative data, according to which the weapons that were provided to Kiev then made it to the criminals operating on the territory of Finland, as well as Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands. I emphasize that this is the weapons supplied by NATO – the Alliance which Helsinki hopes will protect them. Now those arms pose threats to Finnish lives.
We must note that the problem of arms theft from Ukrainian storages first emerged quite a while ago. A recent report by UNODC and UNIDIR mentions that back in 2020 a plot was disclosed that had to do with illegal deliveries of arms from Ukraine to conflict zones in Africa and the Middle East that involved European citizens. The scheme was focused around heavy weaponry, including tanks, which could not have come from anywhere but the military warehouses. Of course, Washington and European capitals were perfectly aware of that. But the task to pump up Ukraine with weapons appeared more important for them.
The situation went out of control to such an extent, that the weapons that were meant for Kiev now appear on the black markets not only in Europe, but also in the Middle East and in Africa. Mr.Kovalik today quoted President of Nigeria M.Buhari who said that the Ukrainian conflict serves as the main source of weapons for Boko Haram terrorists in Lake Chad basin.
Why are these egregious cases of transnational illegal arms trafficking, which, in addition to corrupt Ukrainian officials, obviously involve European and American officials, not being investigated? Is this not a direct threat to international peace and security that should be brought to the attention of the international community?
Same can be said about the “aid” (from humanitarian to military) for Kiev which is worth billions of USDs and of which a considerable part ends up in the pockets of interested stakeholders. We are aware of the relevant discussions in European parliaments and in the US Congress, but we also see how the ruling elite literally silences down the voices of the opposition that request to audit every tax dollar or euro sent to Ukraine.
In the US Senate, during the hearings on the audit bill on assistance provided to Ukraine, representative of the Democratic Party G. Connolly directly stated, “I support transparency and accountability, but not now." A better illustration of the desire of the American establishment to support its loyal dependent at any cost is hard to imagine.
We do not hope to hear anything encouraging from our former Western partners today. Quite predictably, all of them will be trying to shift focus, for example, onto the ungrounded claims about alleged military deliveries from Iran to Russia, which we repeatedly refuted. Russian military industry is capable of accomplishing whatever tasks it has without anyone’s assistance. Whereas Ukrainian military industry is almost non-existent and fully dependent on Western military production. Besides, Western arms manufacturers receive huge profits from this which they are not going to give up for the sake of peace.
In conclusion, I call on those who are capable of perceiving information objectively, to once again assess the risks that continuing uncontrolled steps that arm the Kiev regime pose to the international peace and security that the Security Council is supposed to maintain. Those threats do not decline, but rather keep growing. At this point, Western states do not seem to realize that they are adding fuel to the fire that may engulf the whole world.
Right of reply by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy:
We have listened to all statements very carefully and asked for the floor in order to draw your attention to the following. Despite the facts and evidence that had been cited today, our former Western partners did not utter a single word on the topic of today’s meeting – consequences of arms deliveries to Ukraine. You simply have got nothing to say. That is why you stick to the narrative that merely repeats one and the same phrases at every meeting. In your vision of the world, it is always Russia that is to blame. You no longer have any other explanations. While cherishing this blindness and deafness, you maintain the course which may lead up to consequences of a global scale. This has become even more obvious after today’s meeting.
But you will not be able to shift to Russia the responsibility for the fact that Ukrainian punitive teams have used and are using your weapons to kill people in Donbas, whom they have terrorized since 2014. Or for the fact that due to far-reaching corruptedness of Ukrainian, European, and American officials, weapons from Ukraine end up in the hands of international terrorists and help incite conflicts and kill civilians in other regions of the globe. No one who has watched this meeting can have any doubts left that your acts undermine the international peace and security. I think that explicit denial by our American colleagues of the obvious facts and trends, as well as their announced intention to maintain uncontrolled flow of weapons to Ukraine will be duly noted not only by the unbiased UN member states, but also by the American taxpayers.
This cause was already enough to make this meeting worth our while.