Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva at UNSC briefing on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo


We thank SRSG Keita for the briefing. We followed closely the remarks by Ms. Sandrine Lusamba. We welcome representatives of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda to this meeting.

We are seriously concerned about the violation of the ceasefire between the armed forces of the DR Congo and M23. The resumption of hostilities primarily affects the civilian population and leads to the suffering of ordinary people. We already see another wave of internal displacement in the country. The total number of IDPs, according to various estimates, has reached a record high for the DR Congo - 7 million people. This is a colossal figure. At the same time, the UN humanitarian response plan for 2023 remains strongly underfunded, having raised only 37.5% of the required funds.

Continuation of military conflict in the eastern provinces of the DRC  will clearly only lead to further humanitarian degradation. The mounting instability in the west of the country, in particular in the Mai-Ndombe province, is also cause for concern. We call on all illegal paramilitary formations operating in the DR Congo to renounce violent methods, lay down arms and join the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme without preconditions.

We have taken note of the decision by Kinshasa to terminate the mandate of the East African Community Regional Force. At the same time, we look forward to the continued work of the political track of the Nairobi process, a key element of which is dialogue between the DRC Government and groups that are ready to turn down violence. Only political solutions will lead to a comprehensive cessation of hostilities and create real conditions for sustainable stabilization. We attach fundamental importance to achieving concrete results through the Luanda process and call for the intensification of regional mediation to overcome tensions between Kinshasa and Kigali. We also believe it necessary to continue to combine complementary efforts and initiatives for regional assistance.

We note the forthcoming deployment of a SADC contingent in eastern DRC. It is important to ensure the necessary level of coordination with MONUSCO and to identify effective modalities for working together to overcome instability. We advocate that the Mission should be able to render certain assistance to regional forces.

We support the efforts of MONUSCO and its leadership. Presence of the Mission in the conflict zone is an important stabilizing factor, which is why we believe it is fundamentally important, when withdrawing the peacekeepers, to be guided by good sense, take into account the developments on the ground, and act in a responsible step-by-step manner. We note that the plan for MONUSCO’s drawdown that has been signed recently by the DRC authorities and the Mission's leadership follows exactly this logic. Its provisions should find the necessary reflection in the Mission's mandate, which members of the Security Council are currently working to endorse.

Just like some other UNSC members, we call for a thorough investigation into serious breaches of discipline committed by peacekeepers. Those responsible need to be identified and held accountable. That includes cases when MONUSCO personnel have been accused of sexual offenses. However, all measures, as stipulated by the Organization's rules and regulations, should be taken in direct coordination with the troop-contributing countries against whose personnel the allegations have been made. The United Nations has developed the necessary mechanisms to combat sexual abuse, and we should focus on utilizing the available toolkit. We oppose any opportunistic initiatives that call for a collective punishment for individual misconduct that entails personal responsibility.

We look forward to receiving complete information from the authorities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the United Nations on the progress of the investigation into the tragedy involving the MONUSCO helicopter shot down in March 2022 in the east of the country. Eight peacekeepers were killed in the crash, including our compatriot, Alexei Mizyura, a senior member of the Russian military observer team. The perpetrators must be found and brought to justice.

In conclusion, I should like to wish the Government of the DR Congo a successful convening of general elections on 20 December.

As a permanent member of the Security Council, Russia will continue to do everything necessary to help resolve the crisis in eastern DR Congo, including at this crucial stage, when MONUSCO starts to withdraw.

Thank you.

Video of the statement