Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on the situation in Ukraine
At the outset, we congratulate the United States on assuming UNSC Presidency in May. We hope your Presidency, unlike the previous one, will be effective and impartial. This is what is expected of a Security Council President when they perform their duties and not act in their national capacity.
We must say for the record a few words about the participation of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights M.Bachelet as a briefer in today's meeting. Without touching upon what she actually said and the unilateral assessments that she made, to which we have lots of questions, I must remind both our colleagues and the High Commissioner herself that under UNGA resolution 48/141 that stipulated the mandate of the High Commissioner, this UN official bears principal responsibility for United Nations human rights activities under the direction and authority of the Secretary-General within the framework of the overall competence, authority and decisions of the General Assembly, ECOSOC, and HRC. Their competence does not cover any other issues relating to maintenance of international peace and security or protection of civilians.
We have been discussing Ukraine for two months by now. Over that time, beside enmity, lies, fakes, hatred, and insults, we have heard one and the same question. How could Russia unprovokedly, as they say, “attack sovereign, democratic, unaggressive, independent, and peaceful Ukraine”? Ukraine posed no threat to Russia – they would say.
I admit that among those who say so there are people who sincerely mean it, who did not realize what was happening all those years. But there are also sly people, who have long dreamt of turning Ukraine into a ground for fighting with Russia. Ever since Ukraine gained independence 30 years ago, they have been doing everything to achieve this – both politically and ideologically. They keep doing so now – when they pump up Ukraine with weapons.
The format of this meeting will not be able to accommodate the full story of what was going on in Ukraine throughout all those years. And I doubt that many of you would like to hear and comprehend this, because you never did or want to comprehend this before. We have spoken much in this room about translation problems. You listen to Ukrainian authorities in translation. And they always tell you what you want to hear. As for us, we have listened to the Kiev authorities without any translation, so we have always known about their slyness and their deceits, including deceits of their own population for all those years. Instead of developing their state, they indulged in oligarchy and all-out corruption – something that even Kiev’s Western sponsors frowned at. We know how they tried to start an ideology based on denial of everything that is Russian, that has held us together for centuries. You know and want to know nothing of insults and hatred that everything related to Russia was subjected to, and not only in everyday life, but also at the level of state and public officials. You do not know that over the years of independence, Ukraine’s delirious history schoolbooks raised a generation of Ukrainians hating Russia. Russophobia became Ukraine's main national product and export commodity. You will never see anything of the sort in Russian society with regard to Ukraine and Ukrainians. You simply do not hear their mottos, you do not notice their torch processions, you do not see their nationalists and outspoken Nazis. There was a smart man, Oles Buzina, a historian. He was Ukraine’s patriot, killed by nationalists in 2015 (of course, the crime was never investigated, even though the perpetrators are well known). He justly said that when an empire collapses, some of its outskirts start developing inveterate nationalism, based on deep-rooted provinciality. Ukraine is a most telling example of that.
It is not a war in Ukraine as you call it. It is a proxy war of collective West with Russia. You seem to have waited for this moment to spin this flywheel of repression against Russia. If speak of a world war, then beyond any doubt, such war is being waged in the economic area. We are sure that you prepared for it well in advance, because the speed that this flywheel reached does not let this be doubted. What you are doing is basically mere robbery – as if reviving the Wild West heyday. Let me say for those who are not on board that apart from countless sanctions and bans, misappropriation of Russian citizens’ private property (even those of them who have nothing to do with the special military operation), Western states froze Russian accounts worth 300 billion dollars. What international law are you talking about? This is not the rules-based order that you invented. This is not even colonialism, when the enlightened West went to civilize its colonies, robbing their natural resources in the meantime. This is nothing else but total outrage and pillaging. So masks are off today. At the same time, it is very trendy today to blame Russia for food and energy crisis that you started yourselves.
For 8 years, we have been speaking of sufferings of people in Donbas. Of shellings by UAF and nationalist battalions. Of deaths of civilians under those shellings. We have said that it was not Donbas that waged a war on Kiev, but Kiev that went to Donbas just because its people disagreed with the coup d’état and the policy of total Ukrainization implemented by the Maidan authorities. You showed no reaction. You do not want to remember that back in 2014, similar protests were put down violently in Kharkov, Odessa, Mariupol. For 8 years we have been telling you that this must be stopped. It would not have taken much to do this. Ukrainian authorities just should have implemented the Minsk Agreements, which they publicly defied instead, making use of your connivance and support and cherishing the illusion of total impunity. They liked to feel part of the so-called civilized world and be your homages. I wonder, given today’s situation, Ukrainian impoverished authorities – do they kick themselves because of it? And now, when after all Kiev’s crimes and after all the warnings a special military operation started to protect Donbas, we are hearing those desperate cries: “what have we done wrong”?
I will answer to this. Go thank your Western sponsors and patrons who joyfully rubbed their hands when watching Ukraine turn into anti-Russia. What is happening now did not start at the end of February. It did not start eight years ago either. It started much earlier. It started with support and encouragement coming from the US and its Western satellites.
We repeatedly raised our security concerns. The West dismissed it, never took it seriously, assured themselves of NATO’s defensive nature, while simultaneously shifting its boundaries close to our borders. Today you already speak of NATO’s global role, including in Asia. We made our proposals regarding global and indivisible security architecture. You waived them off arrogantly. So do not seek to convince us that you never planned to drag Ukraine into NATO. You did. Tomorrow, if not today. We had no illusions about that.
We stress again: The West does not need Ukraine as such. It did and does need it only as an arena of confrontation with Russia. Ukraine should have no illusions either. The West will not help it, except with supplying more weapons and attempting to protract the conflict. And the West is already waging a proxy war on Russia.
Hypocrisy of our Western partners keeps surprising us. The topic of aggression of the United States and the West in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yugoslavia, infamous campaign in Afghanistan, to say nothing of prior events, e.g. in Veit Nam, gradually came to naught. It seems improper to raise those tragedies today. As if they never happened. As if they were ancient history. As if the West had nothing to do with them. You bet! It was struggle for democracy! This struggle, however, cost millions of human lives, devastated cities and states that were thousands of miles away from homeland. And then, today, we hear delirious speculations about sponsors of terrorism. One rhetoric question if I may: where did ISIL come from? ISIL evolved in the aftermath of US invasion of Iraq. Its backbone is constituted of former Iraqi army. So who is the real sponsor of terrorism?
We are living in a state of information or rather disinformation war. It targets Russia. We have repeatedly underscored what immense psy-op forces have been deployed at the battleground of this information warfare. They seek to besmirch the opponent, render them unarmed, having cut off their media from access to global audience and having accused them of using propaganda. They want the global community to know only one version of events – the one about “atrocities of Russian military, deliberate shelling of residential buildings and killing civilians”, and about totally delirious idea of “genocide of Ukrainian people”. The West was preparing its “information artillery” for many years, but If previously information war accompanied real war, now it is exactly vice versa.
By contrast, the global community must hear nothing of Ukrainian provocations, e.g. in Bucha or Kramatorsk, or of the way Ukrainian nationalists use civilians as a cover-up, arrange gun posts near schools, hospitals, kindergartens, residential buildings and apartments, keep people in basements without letting them go, prevent evacuation through humanitarian corridors that Russian military open daily. If someone manages to exit, they are often shot at in the back. There is lots of evidence to that end provided by Ukrainians themselves. But you are not interested in all that. Have you ever seen evidence and footage showing Russian prisoners being tortured by Ukrainian nationalists who then upload those clips to social media? Have you ever seen Russian military do anything of the kind to Ukrainian prisoners? Have you seen coverage by foreign journalists, whom Russian military take to liberated cities and let them go wherever to and speak to whoever they like? Have you ever heard what people from those cities say about what Ukrainian nationalists did and how they behaved with respect to those people?
I must say that Secretary-General’s trip to Russia and Ukraine was presented both by Western Media and politicians in an absolutely perverted manner. They deliberately create an impression that Ukraine and the United Nations talked Russia into opening a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians from Azovstal. However, Russian side opens humanitarian corridors regularly. By the way, they are open today as well. The problem is that Azov fighters in Azovstal steelplant use civilians as a “human shield”. Those who exited from there, openly say so. Contrary to deceitful speculations of Ukrainian authorities, many of those people preferred either to stay in the DPR or expressed willingness to return to the liberated Mariupol. Today Azov militants put down their masks for good, having demanded a tonne of food and medications for each out of 15 hostages, liberated from the steel plant. Before them, only terrorists from ISIL and Nusra would do such thing.
The Permanent Representative of Albania quoted L.Trotsky today, who once said that army was a cast of society. Did you mean this episode?
Tomorrow we are hosting an Arria meeting on violations of the international humanitarian law by Ukraine. It will give the floor to eye-witnesses – Ukrainians and foreign journalists. Come and visit if you have at least faintest desire to hear some objective information.