Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at the plenary meeting of the 11th emergency special session of the UN General Assembly (the issue of Ukraine)
Let me start with procedural issues.
You all have become witnesses to an outrageous fraud in which President of the General Assembly unfortunately played a key role. We were not given the floor to make a point of order (the indicator light at our seat is still on), our statement was distorted, and now UN member states are being robbed of their right to express their opinion freely. This is an unprecedented manipulation undermining the authority of the General Assembly and the United Nations as a whole. Of course, in such circumstances we opted to not take part in the vote. We express our strong protest against the blatant violation of the procedural order of the meeting. As I said, we were not given the floor. Our main point was what the Syrian colleagues actually reminded us of. We did not argue the decision of the President. The thing is that we did not make the motion that Albania then contested. So Mr.President, you deprived the Russian Federation as the author of the proposal of the opportunity to actually present it and explain its underlying logic. Our opponents did this in our place. Is this the transparency that the delegation of Albania was so eloquent about? Is this fair play? We demand that the question be presented as we requested. There is no sense taking action against what we did not introduce in the first place. I will revert to it later.
The General Assembly was conceived as a universal and the most inclusive platform for equal dialogue of sovereign states. This hall witnessed the adoption of many life-changing decisions that drafted the legal, socio-economic, and economic outline of the present-day global community. When elaborating those decisions, states were eager to find some common ground, arrive at a compromise, and act in the spirit of cooperation and genuine engagement.
Unfortunately, today we see a completely different narrative being promoted within these walls. In all its history, the United Nations has not seen such cynicism, confrontation, and dangerous polarization as it does today. This fact is most vividly illustrated by the convening of this politicized special session. We can say for sure that it is highly politicized, because it was specifically launched to promote narrative aimed against one concrete country – the Russian Federation.
Speaking about other aspects of the Ukrainian crisis, which had started to evolve in 2014 at the very latest (and in fact much earlier), Western states systematically downplayed those, deliberately excluding those aspects from the discussions. They do so as if the anti-constitutional Maidan coup, the tragedy in Odessa, systematic violations of the rights of Russian speaking population, aggression of the Kiev regime against Donbas, and mass murders of civilians living there – as if none of this had happened. Washington, London, Brussels, and some other capitals are trying to “stop the clock” pretending that history only started in February 2022. That is characteristic of the West – for them, any historical period begins at whatever time they find the most “convenient”.
Recently, there was a pathetic and unprecedented provocation in the Security Council, which then served as a pretext for reconvening this session. A draft document was put to vote, where we were supposed to condemn ourselves. What does it have to do with maintenance of peace and security or searching for ways to resolve the conflict? This was yet another step towards further divide and escalation, which we are sure is not what the overwhelming majority of states whose representatives are gathered in this hall would want.
Those who keep track of the discussions in the Security Council know that we were ready to approve a well-balanced and constructive draft resolution, where among other things we suggested articulating a call to look for diplomatic ways of crisis settlement. Our proposals were perceived rather positively by many our partners in the Security Council. But of course, the Western states in UNSC did not want them. As we hear from their statements, they do not want peace in Ukraine at all.
It is NATO that we are really confronted with in Ukraine. And what NATO wants is to escalate the conflict which will bring the Alliance closer to fulfilling its plan (that was years in the making) to defeat or at least weaken Russia. To be able to do this, those countries have long picked Ukraine which they completely subjugated and put under their control. So today Ukraine is used as a testing site for NATO weapons and proxy fights with Russia to be fought “until the last Ukrainian”.
Today, Western states seek to involve as many countries as they can in their geopolitical projects aimed at preserving Western dominance and sustaining the wealth of the so-called golden billion.
We used to be condemned for our genuine wish to uphold the rights of people in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and protect them from colonialism and exploitation. By the same fashion, today we are criticized for protecting the rights and freedoms of our brothers and sisters in the south and east of Ukraine. In the first place – their right to life, as well as the right to speak their mother tongue and have their children educated in it, praise heroes who liberated their land from Nazis rather than those who collaborated with them and killed peaceful people. We protect those whom the current leadership in Kiev called species and inhumans, and urged to “leave for Russia for the sake of their children’s and grandchildren’s future”, and who eventually heeded this call and opted to be with Russia. This is eloquently evidenced by the choice of six million civilians made at the referenda in the DPR, LPR, Zaporozhye, and Kherson regions, where the overwhelming majority of voters supported accession to Russia.
We are living in an era when millions of video reels and comments can be accessed on social media in a click, which makes it very hard to argue that the voting at the referenda was free, legitimate and fully compliant with norms and principles of international law. More than a hundred international observers, i.a. from Western states, confirmed that. Internet users mostly share this view. According to spontaneous polls that were carried out in Twitter, most respondents believe that people in those regions should be able to decide on their own future. Some would disagree though, first of all Kiev and it Western sponsors, who have been covering up for crimes of the Maidan authorities for eight and a half years.
Those who louder than others cry out that the referenda were “illegitimate” because of the lack of consent of the Kiev regime, had a directly opposite position when submitting their statements to the International Court of Justice in support of Kosovo’s secession from Serbia. I remind that it was a secession without a referendum and only based on allegations about mass murders of peaceful Kosovo-Albanian population, which we know today were as true as the lab glass in the hands of C.Powell when he was trying to convince the Security Council that Iraq was in possession of WMDs.
What is particularly cynical about this situation is the fact that those who “wring their hands” today lamenting alleged violations of the UN Charter by Russia have disregarded it for years, trying to replace it with a “rules-based order”.
Unlike how it was with Kosovo, the rights and even the lives of people in the DPR, LPR, Kherson, and Zaporozhye regions are really exposed to a threat today. Only a clear legal status of these territories and their accession to the Russian Federation could give them protection and confidence about the future. Back in 2014, we saved the people of Crimea whom the Kiev regime unambiguously threatened with Ukrainization or a violent crackdown. That is why we took this step, even though we knew how furious it would make our opponents.
Threats by Ukrainian nationalists appear even more serious now, against the backdrop of intensified deliveries of Western weapons to the Kiev regime, which can now target the residential quarters that were previously out of reach of Ukrainian armed forces. Another essential aspect that played a role during the referenda is the fact that Kiev had started terrorizing civilians after labelling them as collaborators. Kiev’s fighters openly admit to it when speaking to Western media. They brag to be “shooting Russian collaborators like pigs”. And this is far not a metaphor, as we can see from a video reel posted by a Ukrainian neo-Nazi, ex-commander of the Azov battalion M.Zhoryn. This video features civilians from Kupiansk being shot and their bodies ditched.
Have you heard about a strike by Ukrainian armed forces against a line of people who were heading to Russia-controlled territories of the Zaporozhye region? Ukrainian “info-liers” who were acting in the best traditions of Dr.Goebbels, immediately attributed them to Russia, same as the strikes against the Zaporozhye NPP and the city of Enerhodar.
Ukrainian Nazis have a lengthy record of deadly provocations that started back in April in Bucha, Irpen, and other areas where Russian forces had withdrawn from as a gesture of good will. Yet the people of Donbas, Kherson, and Zaporozhye know too well who really stood behind the killings of people in southern and eastern Ukraine. Hence an explicit choice in favor of a future within Russia – a choice that we intend to respect. And we call on you to follow suit.
We call the international community to pay attention not only to the criminal acts that I mentioned, but also to the irresponsible steps and claims of the Kiev regime that seek to involve NATO countries in hostilities against Russia. I mean the reckless calls of V.Zelensky to launch preventive nuclear strikes against Russia. It is clear that in doing so Kiev hopes to evade a defeat on the battlefield (which is otherwise imminent) and accountability for all its crimes. However those calls are fraught with unleashing the third world war and a nuclear disaster. The sabotage on the Crimean bridge is a clear illustration of what Kiev is capable of. We have warned that this and other steps of such kind will not be left unretaliated. By carrying out such sabotage, by terrorizing and killing the unwanted officials and political activists, the Kiev regime positions itself alongside most ignominious international terrorist organizations. Only Kiev and its Western sponsors that keep pushing the regime towards a war “until the last Ukrainian” instead of a peaceful settlement bear the responsibility for our forced retaliatory measures.
Let me stress again that Russia observes the Charter of the United Nations and respects the principles stipulated therein, including the principle of territorial integrity of states. However this cannot be considered in detachment from other principles of the international law, first of all the right of peoples to self-determination. The Declaration on the Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations that the General Assembly adopted in 1970 and that the sponsors of today’s draft refer to (though citing it selectively, as they usually do) provides a clear explanation of this matter. It prescribes that the principle of territorial integrity must be observed with regard to the states that respect in their policies the principle of equality and self-determination of peoples and therefore have governments representing the entire people living on their territory.
The Kiev regime forfeited this legitimacy in terms of its Russian-speaking population back in 2014, after the unconstitutional Maidan coup. Over the past 8 years we have provided thousands pieces of evidence of the violent crimes committed by Kiev against its own people; infringement and direct violation of the rights of Russian speakers that constituted at least 40% of the entire population of Ukraine; and attempted forced Ukrainization of those people.
Those facts do not fit into the unilateral Western narrative that is so convenient to them and that they try to impose on you, while at the same time twisting the arms of those who dare to have an own divergent opinion. Those who were able to withstand this unprecedented pressure were able to prove that they do have an independent opinion and implement independent policies. Those are countries that uphold the crucial principle of sovereign equality of member states and who talk to others like their equals and not like dependents. This special session demonstrated that our Western opponents fear that the number of such states will grow, and so they are ready to take any steps to preclude this from happening.
Since you did not let us do it in due course, when we asked for that, we request that our proposal to suspend the whole Rule 87, including its para. B, be put to vote now.