Statement and reply by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on Ukraine
We have had a very intense day in terms of discussing the Ukrainian crisis. I will not repeat what I said at the General Assembly in the morning. I can only state with regret that at the end of the day Ukraine did not heed our signals that we sent to Kiev about the need to stop provocations against LPR and DPR.
It seems that our Ukrainian colleagues, whom certain states have been arming and nudging lately, are still under a delusion that with a blessing of Western sponsors, they may secure a military solution to the problem of Donbas. Otherwise, it is hard to explain intensification of fire and acts of sabotage on the territory of the republics. Over past 24 hours, OSCE SMM made records of almost 2,000 ceasefire violations, including almost 1,500 explosions. People of Donetsk and Lugansk still have to hide in basements. Refugees continuously flow to Russia. In a word, the nature of provocations of Ukraine’s Armed Forces has not changed. But you do not want to notice that and prefer repeating Ukraine’s telltales, according to which the people of Donbas all but bombard themselves.
It is surprising that steepening sufferings of the people of Donbas do not touch our Western colleagues. During today’s debate at the General Assembly you found no words to express sympathy and support to them. It seems that for you, those 4 million people do not exist. I would like to remind that the principle of sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, of which violation we are being accused with regard to Ukraine, as stipulated in 1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States, must be strictly observed with regard to states that are “conducting themselves in compliance with the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples and thus possessed of a government representing the whole people belonging to the territory without distinction as to race, creed or colour.” The current government of Ukraine is not like this. By the way, the tragedy of Ukraine started after the illegitimate Maidan coup in 2014, when instead of talking to the Russian-speaking population, new Ukrainian authorities confronted them with guns and aviation. There is enough information and evidence on that matter, however our Western partners prefer to not notice it.
Yesterday and earlier today we tried to explain to you the logic of decisions on recognition of DPR and LPR made by the Russian leadership, accentuated the need to ensure peace and security on those territories. But you would not listen. To you, the people of Donbas are but a bargaining chip in the geopolitical game that seeks to weaken Russia and bring NATO closer to our borders. Whereas to us, those are women, children, elderly people who had to hide from Ukrainian bombardments and provocations for 8 years by now. To us, this is the Ukrainian people that suffers under the sway of the Maidan authorities. This is what makes our approaches different. Unless you take off this geopolitical lens, you cannot ever understand us. But those for whose sake those decisions were made, those whom you disregarded for 8 years and only called pro-Russian separatists and terrorists – those people are truly grateful to us. And this is what really matters for us.
I repeat that the root cause of this Ukrainian crisis is Ukraine’s acts and its years-long sabotage of direct obligations under the Minsk Package. Last week we still hoped that Kiev would think better and finally implement what it committed to back in 2015. What was needed for that was a direct dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk. However another confirmation of Ukraine’s unreadiness for such dialogue, for steps towards granting a special status (that was enshrined in the Minsk Agreements) to Donbas, and explicit support for that on the part of Ukraine’s Western patrons finally convinced us that we had no right to make the people of Donbas suffer further on.
As I said, Ukraine’s provocations against Donbas not only failed to stop, but actually intensified, that is why the leadership of DPR and LPR turned to us with a request to grant military support under bilateral agreements on cooperation that had been signed simultaneously with the recognition of Donetsk and Lugansk. This is a logical step that clearly follows from the acts of Ukrainian regime.
While we were in this meeting, President of Russia Vladimir Putin made an address to say that he decided to start a military operation in Donbas. We do not know all the details yet, but let me tell you briefly – what clearly follows from his message is that occupation of Ukraine is not part of our plan. The goal of this special operation is protection of people who have been victimized and exposed to genocide by the Kiev regime. To ensure this, we will seek demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine, and criminal prosecution for those who committed numerous heinous crimes against civilians, including citizens of the Russian Federation.
This decision was made as per Article 51 of the UN Charter and authorized by the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of Russia in pursuance of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance with DPR and LPR.
There is plenty of incoming information on that matter which is yet to be verified. We will keep you updated.
In response to the representative of Ukraine:
I am not going to take any questions today. I gave you what I know at this moment, and I will not wake up Minister Lavrov at this hour. As we said, we will share information as to the latest developments. Do not call it a war. It is called a special military operation in Donbas.