Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Gennady Kuzmin at UNSC briefing on Children and Armed Conflict


We thank Malta for convening this briefing. We also thank SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict V.Gamba and SRSG for Violence against Children M.M’jid, as well as our young CSO briefer, Ms.Divina, for their insightful and meaningful briefings.

Russia strongly condemns crimes against children. The perpetrators of such crimes must be put on trial and held accountable.

UN Security Council resolution 1612 laid down the groundwork for monitoring protection of children in armed conflicts. We remind that UNSC agenda item ‘Children and Armed Conflicts’ is limited to six grave violations against children: recruitment and use of children by armed forces and armed groups; killing and maiming; sexual violence against children; abductions; attacks against schools or hospitals; and denial of humanitarian access for children. UNSC resolution 2427 is also essential, because it extended the toolkit for measures to protect children, including preventive measures.

We trust that this discussion will emphasize the need for broader fulfilment of potential of resolution 2427. The more so as the resolution calls upon States to mainstream child protection into all relevant activities in conflict prevention, conflict and post-conflict situations. In it, Security Council also expresses its commitment to consider and use the tools of the United Nations system to ensure that early warning of potential conflicts translates into early, concrete preventive action, including towards the goal of protecting children and with a view to building sustainable peace. This work needs to be coordinated at the global, regional, and national levels.

We appreciate the efforts of Special Representative for CAAC and believe her useful activities should be supported. SRSG Gamba and members of her office work dutifully to assist states in taking practical action. Office of the Special Representative elaborated a number of helpful documents, in particular “Practical guidance for mediators to protect children in situations of armed conflict” and other useful tools.  

Security Council’s Working Group on children and armed conflict also plays an important role. This unique mechanism promotes effective protection of children in armed conflict and prevention of recurrence of violence in future. In the first place, the WG is called to address the most urgent and large-scale conflict situations that stand on the Council’s agenda.

Unfortunately, in the recent two years the efficiency of the WG has declined and gave way to politicizing. Instead of having an in-depth dialogue on issues of physical protection of children, there were attempts to reform the working group and make it consider human rights aspects that fall under competence of other UN bodies. The Maltese Presidency of the Council is faced with a complicated yet crucial task – establish constructive mutually respectful dialogue in the WG, avoid politicizing, and enhance the effectiveness of this mechanism.

Thereby we should be mindful that children’s agenda is also considered in the General Assembly and Human Rights Council. This division of labor among UN bodies must be maintained as prescribed by the UN Charter and other instruments.


The task of unconditional respect for the universal norms of international humanitarian law and the use of universally recognized international legal instruments remains topical. However, Safe Schools Declaration, Paris and Vancouver Principles cannot be considered such instruments, because those are political initiatives of separate groups of states that do not have universal support.

Meanwhile, Safe Schools Declarations that our Western partners talk about so much, is completely neglected by the states that officially take part in it, for example Ukraine, who is a party to the Declaration. We witness and put on record constant attacks and bombardments of schools and hospitals by the armed forces of Ukraine, who turn those facilities into fortified areas, and use for military purposes, such as deployment of military contingents and hardware.

The United States, United Kingdom, and France also violate the Declaration, because it is their artillery systems and other weapons that Kiev’s militias use to hit schools and hospitals. Besides, when it comes to HIMARS, all targets also need clearance from Ukraine’s American supervisors. Nevertheless, Kiev and Western accomplices of its crimes will most likely continue talking nonchalantly about their commitment to protection of schools and schoolchildren.


With the backup of their sponsors, the authorities in Kiev continue the war on their own population. Since 2014, Kiev has been violently suppressing anyone who dares to disagree with its inhumane course in Donbas. Over these years, hundreds of children have died in this region, and thousands more sustained wounds and injuries. UAF deliberately target civil facilities – kindergartens, vocational institutions, schools, and children’s hospitals.  

Here are but a few of the recent examples.

On 21 January, kindergarten No. 279 of Donetsk was damaged in a shelling of the Kirovskiy city district by the UAF.

On 28 January, American HIMARS was used to launch a targeted strike against a hospital in Novoaydar, which killed 14 people and wounded 24 more. On the same day, a children's hospital in Novaya Kakhovka was bombarded.

In the early hours of 3 February, Ukrainian forces shelled the village of Bulavinovka in the LPR from HIMARS launchers. As a result, a school, a community center, and 10 residential buildings were damaged.

This inhumane method of warfare poses risks to the lives of children, deprives them of their right to education, and ruins Ukraine’s educational infrastructure. 

In the past year alone, 4574 civilians died in Donbas, including 153 children, and 279 more children were wounded.

We regularly update the Office of the Special Representative on crimes committed by the UAF against children, in particular the killings and maimings, as well as attacks on schools and hospitals.  


Russia received hundreds of thousands of children who, together with their families, had to flee to my country from the barbaric attacks of Ukrainian armed forces. Over this period, approximately 400,000 children found refuge in Russia. At present, Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights M.Lvova-Belova engages closely with the authorities of LPR and DPR and other liberated areas to establish a system for protection of childhood, and recovery of social facilities. Programs are underway that prioritize measures aimed at keeping children in families or transferring children to state care in case of death or absence of parents or other relatives. We are ready to share our relevant experience with Member States and experts from the Office of the Special Representative.


Speaking of protecting children in armed conflicts, we cannot fail to mention the Syrian Arab Republic. We are very concerned over the status of children in the territories out of governmental control – the Idlib de-escalation zone and northeastern areas of the country. The critical situation in IDP camps Al-Hol and Roj (northeastern Syria) has remained unresolved for years. The United States refuses to address this situation, though it is the occupying power in control of these camps. We once again call upon states to uphold obligations arising from the international law and take steps to repatriate children of their nationals from armed conflict zones. On our part, we take consistent efforts to evacuate Russian children and have them covered by rehabilitation. We also stand ready to share our expertise in this area.

Thank you.