Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC meeting on Ukraine
We have taken note of the information provided by Rosemary DiCarlo and Ilze Brands Kehris. We also listened to yet another speculation from a well-known propagandist Oleksandra Drik, former adviser to the Minister of Defense of Ukraine.
Today's meeting, convened at the request of the United States and Albania, has every chance of becoming a new milestone in the disinformation campaign unleashed by Ukraine and its Western sponsors against our country. The tactics of the West, which is waging a hybrid war against Russia in Ukraine to the last Ukrainian, is clear to us – it is to demonize in any way possible the Russian Federation and the special military operation we are carrying out. The dirty methods of Western propagandists are also well known to us – it is enough to recall the obvious staging or provocations in Bucha, Kramatorsk, Kremenchug, Mariupol, refuted by more and more evidence, while the West is doing its best to hide it from the view of the general public. Now we are being blamed for some cruel "filtration measures" that we allegedly implement against Ukrainian citizens. I would like to ask our US colleague, and although she has already left the meeting, I believe someone will pass her my question: what’s the name of the horror movie whose the plot she told us today? We have not seen this movie. Is this a movie produced by the Ukrainian “Propaganda Ministry”? When will it be released?
Regarding the so-called “filtration”. First of all, we are not sure what exactly we are talking about, since the term “filtration” itself is not clearly defined in international humanitarian law. If we are talking about identifying among Ukrainian citizens those who want to leave for Russia, militants of the nationalist battalions or soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine involved in crimes against the civilian population, then this is a normal practice for any army in the world.
And nobody is better positioned to tell us about “filtration measures” than our US colleagues who requested this meeting. Take, for example, the program launched by the previous administration to deport to Mexico tens of thousands of forced migrants who have applied for asylum in the United States. The migrants were kept in inhumane conditions, deprived of their right to legal representation of their interests as well as to a fair trial. In doing that, the US authorities often separated families, sending children and parents to different detention centers. More than 2,500 such cases have been recorded.
For many years, people have been illegally detained without trial or investigation at the Guantanamo prison – perhaps the darkest spot on the rather soiled human rights reputation of the United States. So far, no one has been held accountable for torture and ill-treatment of prisoners in the secret prisons of the CIA that also operated in European countries in the 2000s. I would like to once again ask my colleague or colleagues from the US delegation, just out of curiosity: did the US grant access to human rights organizations of the UN system? Did representatives, for example, from OHCHR, visit detainees at Guantanamo Bay?
This makes all the more cynical the attempts by the initiators of this discussion to use human rights concerns to make the ignorant public believe in the existence of terrible camps where peaceful Ukrainian citizens are tortured and forced to move to Russia by deceit or coercion. Those who promote such defamations are simply at odds with facts and common sense. Their claim is debunked by basicstatistics, including those coming from international sources. The Russian Federation is known to be the country that received most Ukrainian refugees. In total, more than 3,7 million people went to Russia from Ukraine, the DPR, and the LPR, including 600,000 children. If we subtract from this number the citizens of the DPR and LPR who have Russian passports, then according to the estimates of the UN Refugee Agency, the number of Ukrainian citizens who went to Russia is over 2,4 million people. And these people are not kept in prisons, such as, for example, Guantanamo Bay, but live freely in Russia because they wish to do so. No one prevents them from moving or leaving the country. Even the representative of the OHCHR confirmed this today.
Do you seriously think that so many people can be brought by force and silenced? Many of them write their thoughts and opinions on social media, give interviews, express their gratitude to our country. From their publications, it is clear that people are fleeing Ukraine out of fear for their lives, running away from the criminal regime, which did not allow them to evacuate and used them as a “human shield”.
There are more than 1,500 temporary accommodation centers on the territory of 85 constituent entities of the Russian Federation with a total capacity of more than 95,000 people. Dedicated trains transport refugees to the areas of temporary residence. 38 trains are used for that. There is a "hot line" that processes more than 250 calls from citizens daily. Refugees and migrants are provided with financial, legal, psychological, and medical assistance.
We pay special attention to children. They are given every opportunity to continue their education at school. Unfortunately, not all children in the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics went to school on September 1 in high spirits. Due to the daily shelling of the cities of the DPR and LPR by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, authorities decided that children at a number of schools will continue remote learning.
I would like to address the issue of children's privacy that Ms. Brands Kehris mentioned today. We are shocked that, while talking about this, UN officials have repeatedly turned a blind eye on the fact that the Ukrainian website “Peacemaker” publishes personal data not only of adults, but also of minors, threatening them with reprisal. We have already informed the UN, in particular UNICEF, that this extremist resource has more than 340 entries related to children in their database, including Faina Savenkova, a thirteen-year-old girl from Lugansk, who is still waiting for a meeting with a UNICEF representative despite the assurances and promises that were provided.
Naturally, forced migrants go through the process of registration at the border with Russia, after that those in need of help are being assisted with getting to the fixed temporary accommodation sites. We draw the attention of those who are trying to substitute notions: Ukrainians and residents of the DPR and LPR arriving to Russia undergo a registration procedure, and not “filtration”. As far as we can tell, similar procedures are applied in Poland and other EU countries in relation to Ukrainian refugees, but we leave it to them to tell us about it.
The situation on the ground clearly demonstrates how delusional our Western colleagues are about the forced relocation of Ukrainians to Russia.
Even the Western media cannot ignore the fact that a huge number of Ukrainian citizens try by all means to get from Ukraine to the territories liberated by Russia. People are lining up at the checkpoint in Zaporozhye, where up to 700 people return daily to their homes after learning from friends and relatives objective information about a peaceful life in their hometowns and villages. In particular, this could be witnessed by the IAEA experts on their way to the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant while they passed through this line and had an opportunity to talk with ordinary people. This is a clear indicator that many Ukrainians have already chosen to live with Russia, having no trust in the corrupt and criminal Kiev regime. At the same time, when we refer to violent actions against the civilian population we think about the efforts of the Kiev authorities. Since early August, Ukraine has been carrying out a so-called “mandatory evacuation” of people from the parts of the DPR and a number of regions of the country that still remain under its control. People are deprived not only of the right to choose where to evacuate, but often of the very possibility to stay in their native lands, even when they are not under any sort of threat. Those who want to stay are threatened with inevitable punishment for cooperating with the Russian side. Ukraine’s twisted laws on so-called “collaborationism” establish responsibility even in such cases as receiving food assistance from the Russian authorities or, for example, when a teacher in a liberated area chooses to continue teaching at a local school. How about Western and UN human rights advocates take a good look at this so-called "martial law" and its application by the Kiev regime?
In addition, you continue to overlook the attacks by Kiev saboteurs against local officials on the liberated territories, those very people who ensure provision of basic services and utilities in cities for the benefit of civilians. Recently, Artem Bardin, head of the administration of Berdyansk, was blown up in his car. On August 24, Ivan Sushko, head of the interim civilian administration of Mikhailovka, Zaporozhye region, was assassinated. When his car was exploded he was driving his daughter to daycare. By sheer luck, she survived.
Apparently, this is how Kiev sees a guerrilla war, which they promised from the very beginning of the special military operation. However, given the real sentiments of the people living on the liberated territories, the Zelensky regime simply has no choice but to resort to the tactics of murder and intimidation.
Finally, the allegations of our former Western partners about the harsh filtration procedures that Ukrainians are allegedly subjected to on their way to Russia are shattered by the example of the free movement of Ukrainian agents involved in the murder of young Russian journalist Daria Dugina. Let me briefly remind you the main facts.
Wanted on charges of this vile murder and terrorist act, a citizen of Ukraine Natalia Vovk (Shaban), who, almost a month before the crime, on July 23, quite easily drove with her twelve-year-old daughter Sophia Shaban into the territory of Russia in her car. As can be seen from the published video footage, she was held at the border for several minutes. Where were the very filtration measures and interrogations that Russia allegedly implements in relation to all Ukrainians entering our country?
In Moscow, Natalya Vovk without any complications drove around in her car, rented an apartment and a garage, and on August 20 organized a terrorist attack targeted against Daria Dugina. After committing this heinous crime, the Ukrainian woman and her daughter immediately drove to the border with Estonia and peacefully crossed it again without any filtration procedures. Similarly, Bohdan Tsyganenko, an accomplice of the terrorist, citizen of Ukraine, traveled from Estonia to Russia and back without any problems.
I would like to ask our Western colleagues a question: how could Ukrainian criminals cross the Russian border twice without any complications, if our so-called “police state”, as many of you claim, has built a network of filtration camps for Ukrainian citizens? And how does the voluntary mass movement of Ukrainians to Russia fit in with accusations of their deportation? Don't you think, gentlemen, that once again are you simply lying?
It is deplorable that human rights organizations claiming to be objective have also joined the campaign to demonize our country. One of such recently published reports, widely cited today, contains unsubstantiated accusations against us. The legend about “mass filtration measures” is based on polls of several dozen people, many of whom did not travel to Russia at all, while others confirmed that they did so voluntarily. Given a huge number of Ukrainian refugees, why did the authors limit themselves to these scattered and selective testimonies, and did not ask hundreds of thousands who fled the conflict to Russia about how they lived these months and years under the shelling of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and what procedures they went through when crossing the border? Generally, how impartial can human rights defenders, working only with one of the parties to the conflict, which, among other things, has established total censorship on its territory? The mention of the Human Rights Watch report today cannot and should not mislead anyone. We saw very well what was happening with Amnesty International, which was “pecked” for trying to show a real, and not a fictitious, picture of the use of civilian facilities by the Armed Forces of Ukraine for military purposes. It turns out that our Western colleagues do not need the truth, even from human rights activists. They only want them to whitewashed the rotten Zelensky regime and cast a shadow on Russia.
We are not opposed to discussing what is happening in Ukraine. In the course of a special military operation, we found out so many facts of the criminal activities of Kiev and its Western associates that it is possible to discuss them at least every day. But we want to talk about real, not fictional problems. And since we have lost time today, discussing yet another speculation and fantasy, tomorrow we propose to discuss the real threats to international peace and security generated by the supply of weapons and military products to Ukraine by foreign states. As speakers, we would like to see Under-Secretary General for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu, as well as representatives of civil society. We will immediately send a corresponding request to the French presidency.