Explanation of vote by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia after the UNSC vote on a draft resolution on Ukraine
Russia voted against the anti-Russian and anti-Ukrainian draft resolution that was put forward to the Security Council today. I think I need not to explain why it is anti-Russian – suffice it to briefly look at it. But why anti-Ukrainian? Because this document, without any doubt, contradicts the fundamental interests of the Ukrainian people, as it seeks to protect and secure in Ukraine the system of power that brought the country to this tragedy that has lasted for at least 8 years already. We thank those who chose to not support this draft.
I will not respond to those who just accused Russia of abusing its veto right.
The main reason why we voted “no” is not what the draft resolution says, but rather what it lacks. If only its sponsors had at least tried to make it vaguely resemble a well-balanced document, they would not have left behind issues that must not be forgotten in the context of Ukraine’s problem.
In particular, they left behind the story how the Maidan junta that rose to power after the unconstitutional coup d'état in Kiev in 2014 waged war on the people of eastern Ukraine, firing at residential quarters from guns and multiple rocket launchers and air-dropping bombs on Donetsk and Lugansk. They left behind how Ukrainian authorities, with connivance of their Western sponsors, cynically and consistently evaded implementing the Minsk Agreements, which envisaged as a core element direct dialogue with the people of Donbas. At the same time, punitive squads deployed on the Ukrainian side of the contact line – representing radical and neo-Nazi battalions in the first place – systematically and on a daily basis bombarded residential areas of the DPR and LPR, killing women, children, elderly people! By the way, this still continues. Only today 4 people died at the hands of Ukrainian military.
How can we not mention ghastly crimes committed by Ukrainian Nazis in the course of past 8 years? Or people who protested against Maidan and were burnt alive in the Odessa? Or shooting up of peaceful protesters on Maidan square by unidentified snipers? The Maidan regime deliberately wore out investigations of both those tragedies. In the meantime, those who are guilty of the Odessa tragedy are well known and do not seem to be hiding. Alternative investigations and confessions of the snipers themselves unequivocally confirm that the onslaught on the Square of Independence resulted from a provocation by the leaders of Maidan. Last year we hosted informal Security Council meetings under a Formula Arria format to discuss both those episodes and give our colleagues in the Council more information on that matter. But in response, we at best heard some clichés about “Russian propaganda”. How can there be a resolution on Ukraine that does not mention what I just referred to?
Also, it would be good to include in this draft resolution a fair assessment of the role that our Western colleagues played in fueling the Ukrainian crisis. They not only stood behind the Maidan coup, but in fact gave carte blanche to Kiev for any acts and steps that are unthinkable to any civilized state. Those acts include flagrant discrimination of the Russian language and therefore Russian-speaking people; glorification of Hitler’s accomplices coupled with a ban on paying tribute to the real heroes of Ukraine who liberated it from Nazism; and also arranging a religious schism in Ukraine. While you were telling tales about a triumph of democracy in Ukraine, the Maidan authorities and nationalists killed political opponents with impunity, persecuted the opposition, shut down opposition TV channels (six of them during President Zelensky's tenure) where one could get relatively objective information. Can we forget how you pumped Ukraine up with weapons that later were used to kill civilians in Donbas? You made Ukraine a pawn in your geopolitical games, not in the least degree did you care for the interests of the Ukrainian people. It is not only the current Ukrainian leadership, but also you who are responsible for what is happening now. Your today’s draft resolution was nothing else than another move in this cruel and inhumane to Ukraine chess game.
At this moment, newsfeed of Western media is packed with reports about civilians of Kiev and other Ukrainian cities hiding in bomb shelters fearing for their lives and escaping from bombardments. All of us are sincerely worried about our neighbors, and we call on them to not yield to provocations. President Putin and Russia’s Defense Ministry clearly stated that there would be no strikes against civil facilities, but nationalists already use civilians as a human shield. In particular, we strongly condemn them placing positions for artillery and multiple rocket launchers in residential quarters. This is a direct violation of the norms of international humanitarian law, including articles 51 and 58 of the first Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions.
We see Western politicians and media use the situation in their propaganda exercises. Here is my question to you: where have you been for 8 years? Why haven’t you been concerned over the shelling and killings in Donbas? Why didn’t you notice that there were 4 million people living in the DPR and LPR, whom you at best called “pro-Russian separatists”? Why didn't you call down Mr.Poroshenko when he said that the people of Donbas would “rot in basements” or President Zelensky who called them “unpeople” and “critters”?
By the way, I cannot but mention that in their propagandist haze, our Western colleagues frequently use pictures taken in Donbas and show them off to illustrate the so-called Russian aggression in Ukraine. There are lots of such fakes now on the Internet and in Telegram channels. And there is plenty of video footage allegedly depicting Russian strikes against Ukraine’s peaceful quarters. But those photos were actually made in other parts of the globe and have nothing to do with Ukraine. BBC underscored this today, issuing article “Ukraine conflict: Many misleading images have been shared online”.
There you can find everything: photos from parades, photos of American aviation bombing Libya, photos from Syria, and even photos of Beirut explosion that are presented as something that took place in Ukraine. I will forward this article to the members of the Council.
Let me specifically address my French, British, and American colleagues.
The Permanent Representative of France said that killings of civilians take place in Ukraine now. This is not true. Russian forces do not bomb Ukrainian cities. We said that nothing threatens their lives. There is no verified record of civilian casualties.
To the British Ambassador I must say the following. What you say is Russian armored vehicle, running over civilians, is heavy tracked surface-to-air missile system “Strela-10” that is in service with Ukrainian armed forces. Russia does not have such systems in service, because they are outdated. Those are the fakes that you use.
To my American colleague I must say that reports about an allegedly destroyed kindergarten are fake. Of course, we can hardly compete with the United States in terms of number of invasions to neighbors. I will keep from listing all acts of aggression that the US committed in the course of its history. So is it you who lectures us?
In conclusion, let me stress that we do not wage war on Ukraine and its people. We are carrying out a special military operation against nationalists to protect the people of Donbas, ensure denazification and demilitarization. Those tasks will soon be complete, and the people of Ukraine will again have an opportunity to shape their future, while living in peace and cooperation with all neighbors.
In response to the Permanent Representative of Ukraine:
I will only make one comment to reassure the members of the Council. I could comment abundantly on the statement delivered by the Permanent Representative of Ukraine. But I will leave that to his conscience – I mean the rudeness that he affords in his remarks.
But let me say this one thing. Russia’s Defense Ministry published a report: “Yesterday, on 24 February, Russian paratrooper forces gained whole control of the territory in the vicinity of the Chernobyl NPP. An agreement was reached with Ukrainian servicemen from the NPP special guard battalion about joint actions to ensure security of the energy blocs and sarcophagus of the Chernobyl NPP”. We do not want Ukraine to have a “dirty bomb”. Representative of our Defense Ministry said that the personnel carried on with routine procedures at the NPP and kept monitoring radioactivity: “Radiation level in the area of the NPP is normal”.
Here is a report from Vienna. “Radiation levels at the Chernobyl NPP are low, there is no threat to population”, said Friday Director General of the IAEA Rafael Grossi.