Remarks to the Press by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia regarding bombardments of Donetsk by Ukrainian military
Vassily Nebenzia: The Ukrainian military continue to shell civilians. Recently their assaults have intensified. In fact, those assaults never stopped. And on June 13 the Kiev regime launched a large-scale shelling of the city of Donetsk and adjacent areas in the Donetsk People’s Republic. The Ukrainian military fired around 350 rockets and artillery rounds. This shelling claimed lives of 6 civilians, including a child. More than 30 people were injured. Altogether, since the start of the military operation, more than 100 civilians died in the territory of Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.
This shelling could not bring to Kiev any military advantage as Donetsk is not on the line of contact. There are no military objects where the shells fell. The Ukrainian military deliberately targeted civilian districts and infrastructure – hospitals, markets, residential areas. It was nothing else but a cold-blooded revenge against those most vulnerable - the ordinary people of Donbas. The mapping of targets clearly shows that the aim of the Kiev regime was to inflict as many civilian casualties as possible.
One of such targets was the Vishnevskiy maternity hospital. The building was damaged, the staff and the patients – pregnant women – were forced to evacuate to the basement. Three newborns in the ICU could not be evacuated and, along with three doctors, had to stay on the upper floors, which put their lives at huge risk. Fortunately, this time there were no casualties. But you can only imagine despair and fear these women and the medical staff of this hospital had to endure. For the people of Donetsk all this is a sad and horrifying reality, unlike notorious fakes about Mariupol maternity hospital, which was in fact used by Ukrainian nationalists as a firing position.
In Donetsk, lives continue to be claimed by the Kiev regime. When Mayskiy market was shelled, the father walked out only to discover that his wife and daughter had been killed in shelling.
It is a disgrace that the Western media largely stay blind, deaf and numb to these appalling incidents. And those who speak up, only do so to promote nonsense that the city was shelled by the Russian forces. This is a clear illustration of the double-standard approach of the Western media.
Zelensky hypocritically claims that Kiev “is not interested in shelling of civilians”. But facts prove him wrong. The trajectory of the rockets shows that they were fired from the territory under the control of the Kiev regime and these are exactly those types of weaponry supplied to Kiev by its Western sponsors.
The recent shelling of Donetsk is another horrible war crime committed by the agonizing Kiev regime. It is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, including the principles of proportionality, military necessity, distinction and humanity. Kiev regime will be held responsible for this.
However, its Western sponsors are equally responsible for these horrendous crimes. The material evidence shows that the people in Donetsk were killed by the 155-mm artillery rounds supplied to the Kiev regime by the NATO countries, including the US, Canada, the Netherlands, France and others. There have been reports about cluster munition of the French origin found in Donetsk after shelling, though France declared that it had destroyed its cluster munitions stockpile in 2016.
On June 1, the US Undersecretary of Defense announced that the US had transferred to Ukraine 108 M777 howitzer and 220,000 155-mm artillery rounds. These long-range armaments enabled the Ukrainian army to strike beyond the line of contact into residential areas with no military presence. And now this Western artillery is killing innocent people.
I would like to say to the Western countries supplying weaponry to Ukraine – the blood of civilians is on your hands. The tragedy in Donetsk confirms once again that you are fighting a proxy war with Russia with the hands of Ukrainians till the last Ukrainian. It is also obvious that the Kiev regime will not hesitate to kill its own people. As recently as a couple of days ago, maybe yesterday, Presidential Adviser to the President of Ukraine Mr. Podolyak revealed to The New York Times that the Ukrainian military will now openly use the methodology of an urban combat, using civilians as a human shield and destroying civilian infrastructure.
Q: Can you say something about the US proposal to build silos at the Polish border in order to export Ukrainian grain? And will there be any interruptions by Russia?
A: I have not heard about that proposal, so cannot say anything yet.
Q: Turkish Foreign Minister said today that safe corridors could still be established in the Black Sea without clearing the mines for grain exports, and that they were waiting for Russia’s reaction to the plan. What do you have to say on that?
A: We are not responsible for establishing safe corridors. We said that we would provide safe passage if these corridors were established. Obviously, in order to establish them it either takes de-mining of the area that had been mined by the Ukrainians, or ensuring a passage around those mines in the harbor.
Q: What’s the possibility of having another evacuation plan with the UN, ICRC, and the Ukrainian side?
A: From where?
Q: From Severodonetsk.
A: So you mean the Azot plant. The issue is that according to various estimates, they keep up to 500 civilians there. There is one elderly person who was lucky to get out from captivity. And he testified that conditions in which people are held there are horrible. They have no water and no food. They are in desperate conditions. But the Ukrainian forces would not let them go. We provide humanitarian corridors, but nobody is allowed to go out.
Q: But it is going to Russia-controlled area, isn’t it?
A: They are free to choose where to go. We said it from day 1. They can go east or west – at their discretion.
Q: The United States said that they are going to kick out possibly Nicaragua from CAFTA trade agreement, because the government of Nicaragua has announced that they are going to collaborate with Russia and that they are going to have military and other collaboration.
A: The West went mad at those countries who would not agree with their assessments of what is happening today in Europe, and that is just one more confirmation of pressure and arms-twisting.