Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on threats to international peace and security (the shelling of Donetsk on November 7, 2023)
We called this urgent meeting in connection with yet another flagrant violation by the Kiev regime of the norms of international humanitarian law and further evidence of its purposeful actions to destroy the civilian population of Donbas. I refer to the massive shelling by the Ukrainian armed forces of densely populated areas of Donetsk on 7 November.
We could have called this briefing on the topic of the consequences of Western arms deliveries to Ukraine. The Kiev regime attacked civilian targets in the city center three times during one day, firing rockets from HIMARS and Uragan systems. In addition to residential buildings, the building of the Department of Labor and Social Protection and a shuttle bus came under attack. Here are some photos of the crime scene that we received from residents of Donbas.
I want to draw special attention to the timing of the attacks: at 4:25 pm – in the middle of the workday, when the Department of Labor and Social Protection traditionally has many visitors; at 4:40 pm – 15 minutes after the first strike, and still less than two hours later – at 6:27 pm.
The terrorist practice of launching repeated strikes against the same location is part of the UAF playbook. Knowing full well that operational services (rescuers, medics, police) and journalists would soon arrive at the sites of the shelling, the UAF launched more strikes while they were working, preventing evacuation of the wounded and dead, and also preventing emergency response personnel from fully engaging in the elimination of the consequences of the shelling.
Yesterday's attacks killed 6 and injured 55 people, including three children. Unfortunately, a doctor and an ambulance paramedic who had come to the rescue, as well as a traffic police officer, were killed, and 23 EMERCOM staff were wounded.
Just a week ago, on October 31, the Kiev regime launched three strikes against the Budennovsky district of Donetsk. The first strike from HIMARS did not injure anyone but started a fire. An hour later, knowing that firefighters and journalists had arrived at the site, the Ukrainian armed forces deliberately struck again at the same location with cluster-type projectiles of indiscriminate effect. This one killed two and injured 15 people. Eight ambulance crews arrive to rescue, and then Kiev purposefully launched a third strike, which, by sheer luck, did not cause any more casualties. No doubt this is a deliberate tactic.
In addition to this, during the time of active combat action more than 20 cases of repeated shelling by the Ukrainian armed forces against emergency services rescuers and medics have been documented. More than 50 employees of the operational services fell victim to Ukrainian terror, and more than 200 were wounded.
Given the fact that most of these strikes are carried out with long-range, high-precision Western weapons, the UAF command knew exactly where they were going to hit. And they knew that the targets of the attacks were not military but civil facilities and civilians. These are conscious and cynical crimes that have no statute of limitation. Responsibility for them will be borne both by the highest political authorities of the Kiev regime and the executors of their criminal orders, as well as Western countries who flood Ukraine with weapons and, as we are well aware, also approve targets of the strikes.
Only Washington, which is used to covering up its own crimes and those of its allies in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and the Middle East can call such tragedies "collateral damage". During the war in Iraq in 2003, the US tactics implied repeated shellings of locations where emergency and other services were working. As we can see, the UAF are "diligent students" of their "teachers."
Such strikes of despair by the Kiev regime, which make no sense from the military perspective, cannot be explained by anything other than helplessness amid failures on the battlefield and the misanthropic nature of the Kiev regime, which does not consider its former fellow citizens in Donbas to be human beings.
Since February 2022, the territory of the Donetsk People's Republic alone has been subjected to more than 25,000 artillery and missile strikes by Ukrainian armed forces. A total of 145,000 shells fell on Donetsk sole. More than 16,000 residential buildings and almost 3,500 civilian infrastructure facilities were destroyed and damaged, including about 700 educational and more than 200 medical institutions and more than 1,100 electricity, water, heat and gas supply facilities. During that time, 4,755 civilians, including 140 children, were killed in the DPR. 5,360 persons, including 357 children, sustained injuries of varying severity.
Moreover, as we know very well, the terror against the population of Donbas did not begin in February 2022. Over the previous eight years, since May 2014, the Ukrainian authorities had carried out aggression against their own people, who did not accept the unconstitutional Maidan coup d'état in Kiev and stood up to defend their rights and freedoms. Troops were deployed against the civilian population. Aviation, heavy artillery and armored vehicles were used. The total number of people killed and wounded in Donbas since 2014 exceeds 20,000.
Every such crime committed by the Kiev regime validates our decision to start a special military operation, which was taken against the backdrop of increased shelling of the territory of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics in early 2022. There is no other way left to stop the Kiev punishers.
We expect to hear from you about inadmissibility of such indiscriminate attacks against civilians. There are no military facilities at the sites of yesterday's strikes; this is the center of a large city. The Kiev regime and its Western sponsors are well aware of this. We trust that you will have the courage and integrity to call things by their proper names today.
Right of reply:
We are grateful to all our colleagues who dared to give a proper assessment to another crime that the Kiev regime committed yesterday or at least to say words of sympathy and compassion with the families of the victims and those injured. At the same time, we have to note that our Western colleagues on the Security Council have taken the fact that we requested today's meeting only as an excuse to repeat their worn-out mantras that Russia is to blame for everything. Colleagues, you cannot even imagine how hypocritical and duplicitous you look against the background of what has happened.
From what you say, it was cynical from us to call a meeting about attacks on civilian infrastructure and civilian casualties. Don't you think saying such things is the height of cynicism and hypocrisy?
To the representative of the UK who attempted at giving an assessment to the events of 2014 in Ukraine I will respond not. I just say that his flat and false assessments are not worth a comment.
However, your selectivity and "double standards" have already become axiomatic, as the inhabitants of Gaza and even the Palestinians living in the Israeli-occupied territories have been able to see for themselves this month. As for the inhabitants of Donbas, they have been living in this paradigm since 2014, when the victims of the Kiev regime's aggression against its own citizens simply ceased to exist for our former Western partners.
We hear the same mantra time and again. “This wouldn’t have happened if Russia didn’t start it”. Once again underscore this “moon blindness” of yours. Since 2014 when Kiev waged a war on its then people and for 8 long years you kept silent, as if having your mouths full of water. You turned a blind eye to systematic bombardments of peaceful cities and towns in Donbas by the Kiev regime and nationalist battalions. Where was your fake humanism all that time?