Statement by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy at UNSC briefing on the downing of IL-76 airplane
Point of order (translated from French):
We resent the approach assumed by the French Presidency of the Security Council as regards urgent meetings that we request to call.
On January 24, a terrible tragedy took place: a terrorist act by the Kiev regime downed a Russian airplane killing all 74 of its passengers. Most of them were Ukrainian prisoners, who were about to be exchanged. The Ukrainian General Staff immediately admitted to being involved in this terrorist attack, but then changed its mind and now tries to back-pedal.
We immediately requested an urgent meeting of the Security Council to take place on the same day, January 24. The UNSC schedule allowed for that. The open debate on the Middle East settlement was scheduled to resume at three in the afternoon, and we naturally did not dispute this, since the horrific situation in Gaza is undoubtedly a critically important subject matter. Unlike our Western colleagues, Russia has repeatedly requested meetings on that topic.
But the remaining number of delegations on the list of speakers on the Middle East left enough time for a briefing on the incident with the Russian plane to convene immediately afterwards.
However, the French Presidency refused flatly to do so, scheduling the meeting for the very late afternoon of the following day, January 25.
We can see the same vicious algorithm in your actions, Mr. President. Earlier in January, you also postponed in every possible way the convening of a Russia-requested UN Security Council meeting on the aggression by the United States and its allies against sovereign Yemen. You also scheduled it with a great delay, despite the some “vacant spots” in UNSC program of work. You also scheduled it to take place in the late evening, in order to “drown out” this uncomfortable topic for your Euro-Atlantic allies as much as possible.
To be honest, we are very disappointed that France, which has always prided itself on its impeccable knowledge of the working methods of the Security Council and has generally been very decent in this regard, started to play along with its “senior comrades” from NATO in such an uncouth way. Mr.President, you have ceased even to pretend that you stick to impartial approach to your duties. For that, you even won praise from representatives of the Kiev regime. But being a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a state with a historically glorious diplomatic school, do you need such dubious "compliments"?
We regret that French diplomacy, which used to profess a sovereign approach, has not been able to resist the "roller" of NATO solidarity, putting the interests of NATO and its proxies like Kiev above the responsibilities of a President of the UN Security Council, thereby seriously damaging its own international reputation. That is a vivid example of a “tail wagging the dog”. We urge you, Mr.President, to consider whether the game is worth the candle.
In order to complete our procedural exchange, let me just briefly highlight that the “work” you mentioned, given all its relevance, does not matter for the Security Council. This is neither the UN Charter nor the Security Council’s rules of procedure. It is just a point of reference, simple as that. We very much regret that you have taken it upon yourselves to determine whether a meeting should convene urgently or not. We are guided by practice. Our practice, for example, shows that on December 30, following our request (after the previous terrorist act of the Kiev regime - the attack on Belgorod), the Ecuadorian Presidency called a meeting on the same day. This is how a responsible Presidency acts. With all due respect, there is a great deal of guile in your actions.
It was yesterday that we first requested an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council in connection with yet another heinous terrorist attack by Zelensky’s regime. The armed forces of Ukraine shot down a Russian IL-76 military transport plane over Belgorod region. On board there were six crew members, 65 captured UAF fighters who were being transported for exchange, as well as three escorting personnel. It was only thanks to the valor of the pilots, who until the last moment took the plane as far away as possible from residential buildings, that no one on the ground was injured.
All data that is available to us today indicates that this was a deliberate, carefully plotted crime. The Ukrainian leadership was perfectly aware of the route and method of transportation of the PoWs to the previously agreed location. The exchange should have taken place yesterday, January 24, in the afternoon. It wouldn’t have been the first exchange operation of such kind, but this time around the Kiev regime, for some inexplicable reason decided to thwart it in the most barbaric way possible.
According to preliminary investigation, Ukrainian armed forces carried out this terrorist attack using an anti-aircraft missile system. The missiles were launched from the village of Liptsy in Kharkov region. These could have been either American Patriot or German-made Iris-T missiles. If confirmed, this will make the Western suppliers of this ammo complicit in this crime. Just as they are complicit in shellings of peaceful neighborhoods of Russian cities that Ukrainian armed forces carry out with Western weapons.
With these heinous actions, Zelensky's regime (supposing it retains any control over its militants) once again showed its inhuman nature and complete lack of commitment. Everyone in Ukraine is aware that Kiev is ready to sacrifice own citizens in any quantities to Western geopolitical interests. This is exactly what they do when catching Ukrainian men in the streets to send them off to the front as "cannon fodder" in violation of Ukrainian law. Zelensky and his clique believe this lawlessness should be called conscription. However, yesterday's terrorist attack goes much farther than that. The PoWs who were to be exchanged yesterday had mothers, wives and children who had been waiting for them. As many times before, their exchange was agreed upon with the Ukrainian side. However, for a an unclear reason, Kiev decided to destroy its own citizens together with the Russians who were accompanying them. Just as the junta in Kiev did in July 2022 when it struck the detention center in Yelenovka, where Ukrainian PoWs were also held. More than 50 people were killed then.
Perhaps a representative of the Kiev regime will shed some light today. It is important to understand whether we are talking about a lack of coordination among Ukrainian military and someone's independent initiative, or about a deliberate, well-considered crime that does not fit into any moral frame of references.
However, what we have seen so far were primitive and cowardly attempts by representatives of the Kiev authorities to disavow any responsibility for this crime, contrary to the obvious facts. By doing so, they have embarrassed and confused themselves and are burying themselves in this lie ever deeper.
Immediately after the terrorist attack, the UAF General Staff issued a triumphant statement, from which it follows that the plane had been deliberately downed by valiant Ukrainian soldiers. The news went viral on Ukrainian media, such as RBC-Ukraine, UNIAN and Ukrainska Pravda. However as soon as it was clear that there had been Ukrainian PoWs on board, the Kiev regime panicked and started to "cover tracks" feverishly. The initial confessions about the involvement of the Ukrainian armed forces were very cleverly "cleaned up" on the Internet. At the same time, new absurd versions started to emerge. In particular, there is disinformation that the IL-76 allegedly had carried missiles, that it was en route either from Egypt or Belgorod, and that it could not have been carrying Ukrainian soldiers. The second "school of thought” of Ukrainian propagandists does not offer any new concepts. They traditionally blame everything on Russia. I have no doubt that our Western colleagues will today exercise the same verbal equilibrium for the sole purpose of protecting the puppet regime in Kiev. As well as the leaders in Kiev, they do not care at all about the dead Russians and Ukrainians, whom the collective West holds for just second-class people and "expendable material" in the geopolitical crusade against Russia. Today, Western leaders are trying to convince their public that this situation is a profitable investment and an attractive business project. The cynicism of such statements is simply off scale.
The Western sponsors of the criminal regime in Kiev are fully responsible for its crimes. On Monday, in this chamber we were discussing arms supplies to Ukraine. You emphasize in such situations that Ukraine allegedly uses it solely for legitimate self-defense. Perhaps you could clarify – the downing of aircraft carrying Ukrainian PoWs to be exchanged under pre-arranged IHL-compliant procedures – what does it have to do with self-defense?
We also regret that representatives of international organizations refuse shamefully (in the spirit of the most blatant double standards) to comment on what has happened. We call on the members of the Security Council and the United Nations leadership to strongly condemn this and all other terrorist attacks by the Kiev junta. In this situation, silence will only enhance the sense of impunity of Zelensky's corrupt dictatorial regime. For our part, we will do everything possible to ensure that all those responsible for this and other crimes by the neo-Nazi clique in Kiev receive the punishment they deserve.
In 2014, the Bandera junta downed Malaysian flight MH-17 over Donbas, taking almost 300 innocent lives.
Despite the obvious evidence and proof of Ukraine's involvement in this crime, many in the West have expressed and continue to express doubts that Kiev could have conceived and committed such a heinous provocation. I wonder how the Western public will digest the destruction of another airplane by the Ukrainian armed forces? It will be much more difficult for Kiev to silence down and "cover up" a crime this time, because all Ukrainians PoWs had families who were eagerly awaiting their return and believed that the authorities would deliver on their part of the deal. In the end, the regime in Kiev sacrificed these unfortunate people twice: first by throwing them into the front line as "cannon fodder" and then (after Russian troops spared them) by treacherously downing the plane with anti-aircraft missiles.
One last point for those who call on us talk peace with the Kiev regime. Leaving aside the fact that the Kiev leader banned himself and his subordinates from negotiating with us and that no one revoked that decree, I would like to ask everyone a question. How are we supposed to regard the statements and guarantees of the Kiev regime and its Western sponsors after the Kiev dictator once again clearly demonstrated that he is not capable of observing even a technical agreement on prisoner exchange? Add to this context the Minsk Agreements that were used as a smokescreen for arming Ukraine, and the rejection of the already initialed draft peace treaty in Istanbul in April 2022 under Western pressure, and then it will be clear to you why we, without abandoning the negotiating option per se, proceed with our special military operation that was started to save lives of the people of Donbas.
Right of reply:
I was not even going to comment on the Ukrainian statement, which turned out totally paranoid and delusional, as usual. Let me just say that my colleagues seems to have been indoctrinated to continue lying and covering up for the Kiev regime. The lists were published and brought to the notice of the Ukrainian side as per agreed procedures. It makes no sense denying this. By the way, that was unlike the lists of victims of the provocation in Bucha, which we struggle to get and continue to speak about.
But that was not my point. I wanted to respond to what you said in your statement, Mr.President, about the downing of MH-17 in 2014. According to Western hypocritical tradition, you put the blame for the tragedy on Russia. I would like to briefly remind you of the irrefutable facts that you normally try to ignore.
After the crash, it was Russia who consistently insisted on an impartial and transparent international investigation. We stood at the origin of the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 2166. We provided the Netherlands with maximum aid, always responding fully and promptly to requests for legal assistance. Unlike Ukraine and the United States, we passed on information critical to identifying the perpetrators. Our data was never included in the case. At the same time, there were many questions about the biased activities of the Joint Investigative Team. We were therefore not surprised by the totally biased decision of the District Court of The Hague in the criminal proceedings. It is absolutely clear that the conclusions of the JIT and the outcome of the trial were aimed solely at fitting the evidence into a single version (favorable to the West) of Russia's involvement in this unthinkable tragedy. By clearly playing into the hands of the Kiev regime, its accomplices discredited themselves for good. They turned a blind eye to the gross inconsistencies and outright lies by Kiev in this process. In particular, the key fact of the case defies all logic. I mean the fact the Ukrainian authorities had not closed the airspace of the conflict zone in violation of the norms of international law. All this exposes the obvious political bias of the main participants of the proceedings.
Colleagues, this year will mark 10 years since the disaster, but nothing has changed. The West is still justifying any crime committed by its puppets in Kiev, trying to blame Russia even when the facts say otherwise.
I would like to emphasize that this political spectacle has nothing to do with holding to account those responsible for the crash of MH-17, who were and remain located in Kiev.