9127TH MEETING (PM)
Several Member States Question Merits for Convening Meeting on Weapons Transfers
A large-scale influx of weapons to conflict-affected zones raises many concerns, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu told the Security Council today, as delegates convened for the third time in three days to discuss the situation in Ukraine, with many questioning the reasoning for the debate and what it could achieve for the millions of civilians suffering under near constant shelling.
“These concerns should be taken with due regard,” she said as a matter of general statement on the topic of weapons transfers, encouraging States to make use of the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms to enhance transparency.
She said it is a matter of public record that, since the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine, on 24 February, Ukraine has received for its defence force transfers of weapons systems and ammunition from several States. Information about the transfers of such materiel has been widely publicized by the Governments involved.
There have also been widespread and independently verified reports of the transfer of major conventional weapon systems to local armed groups in Ukraine, she explained.
Under international humanitarian law, she said combatants must not direct attacks against civilians or civilian infrastructure and take all feasible precautions in the conduct of military operations to avoid, or at least minimize, incidental loss of civilian life. “The time to end this suffering is now,” she said.
Dragana Trifković, Director of the Center for Geostrategic Studies, then compared the war in Ukraine to the one waged on the territory of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, noting that, in both cases, there are examples of both direct interference in the conflict — where Western countries send weapons to the Ukrainian side — and the use of third countries to supply weapons.
In the ensuing dialogue, Council members offered differing views on the merits of convening the meeting, with Ghana’s representative expressing concern that recent meetings have not supported diplomatic actions required to help end hostilities. Albania’s delegate took it a step further to suggest the meeting should have been held under a theme of support for a country whose neighbour aims to “wipe it from the map”. The representative of the United Arab Emirates, however, said that, “while the past cannot be changed, the Council can still have an impact on the present and future trajectory of this conflict”, which is why this topic deserves members’ attention, with the technical expertise required to fully discuss it.
The Russian Federation’s delegate — whose country called the meeting — said the most modest assessments show that the United States and its allies spent $20 billion to support Ukraine in 2022. European countries are violating their “Common Position” rules, which ban the licensing of arms exports if they create a violation of international humanitarian law.
Meanwhile, Ukrainians are being told that they will “become victorious” over the Russian Federation. “We are far from the end of this destructive process”, he clarified, stressing that Western weaponry is not playing a decisive role on the battlefield.
In turn, the United States’ representative accused the Russian Federation of having the “gall” to accuse others of refusing to stand aside while it seeks to destroy another Member State, in violation of international law. His country is proud to provide vital security assistance to Ukraine in defence of its sovereignty. “We are not hiding this support,” he said, stressing that Ukrainians have every right to defend themselves. “We will not stop our support to Ukraine just because Russia is frustrated that its attempt at regime change has not gone to plan.”
The representative of France, Council President for September, spoke in his national capacity to stress that his country made a determined choice to help Ukraine defend its sovereignty. It was his country’s duty, and the purview of the Council, to defend values and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. France is also working with the European Union where a collective decision was made to fund weapons, so Ukraine can withstand the aggression.
To Kenya’s representative, the question of how to collectively build a peaceful world order underpins today’s discussions. The Council — and the international community — must fully face up to the strategic thinking that led to this war, and act to minimize the risk of escalation, while establishing channels of dialogue that will lead to a stable global order. Laying out the acute effects of the war in Africa, he described dashed aspirations for development, united action against climate change and security.
Rounding out the meeting, Ukraine’s delegate said that, by the Russian Federation launching its aggression against Ukraine in 2014 and invading it in 2022, Moscow has violated nearly all international documents, including the Helsinki Final Act. From the permanent seat of the Soviet Union, it has paralysed the Council from ensuring peace and security in Ukraine. “We are defending ourselves, Europe, the world and the UN Charter,” he said. “The evil of Putin — as that of Hitler before him — requires a global response,” he insisted. Ukraine and its allies are doing their best to ensure it.
Also speaking today were representatives of Gabon, United Kingdom, Mexico, India, Brazil, Ireland, Norway and China.
The Council also observed a moment of silence in tribute to Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, who died today.
The meeting began at 3:05 p.m. and ended at 5:05 p.m.
IZUMI NAKAMITSU, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, said she had been requested to brief on the issue of “the supply of lethal weapons to Ukraine”, noting it is a matter of public record that, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which started on 24 February, Ukraine has received for their defence force transfers of weapons systems and ammunition from a number of States. Information about transfers of such materiel has been widely publicized by the Governments involved. These transfers have included heavy conventional weapons — including battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large‑calibre artillery systems and uncrewed combat aerial vehicles — as well as small arms and light weapons.
She said there have also been widespread and independently verified reports of the transfer of major conventional weapon systems to local armed groups in Ukraine, including artillery rocket systems. As a matter of general statement, the large-scale influx of weapons to conflict-affected zones raises many concerns, including the potential for diversion. “These concerns should be taken with due regard,” she said. The international community has instruments, such as the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, to enhance transparency in arms transfer and she encouraged States to make use of those mechanisms.
Beyond the matter of weapons supply, she called for a focus on how these weapons are used, given the devastating impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure caused using heavy weapons in Ukraine. Noting that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has recorded 13,917 verified civilian casualties since 24 February, she said the actual numbers are believed to be significantly higher. Most civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects, including attacks by heavy artillery, multiple launch rocket systems, missiles and aircraft.
She noted that the war also continues to drive large-scale displacement, with more than 6.9 million people internally displaced and 7 million refugees recorded across Europe. The Secretary-General has consistently highlighted the severe humanitarian impact of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and she reiterated his call on parties to avoid their use in populated areas. Under international humanitarian law, combatants must not direct attacks against civilians or civilian infrastructure and take all feasible precautions in the conduct of military operations to avoid, or at least minimize, incidental loss of civilian life. “The time to end this suffering is now,” she said.
DRAGANA TRIFKOVIĆ, Director of the Center for Geostrategic Studies, said that, when talking about the war in Ukraine, it is important to consider the arguments of both warring parties. Comparing the war in Ukraine to the one waged on the territory of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, she gave several examples of external influence in preparing for war, along with direct and indirect participation in the war. Today, in Ukraine, there are also examples of both direct interference in the conflict — where Western countries send weapons to the Ukrainian side — and the use of third countries to supply weapons to Ukraine.
Emphasizing that these weapons “are killing the civilian population without choosing whether they speak Ukrainian or Russian”, she detailed examples of the Ukrainian army using prohibited cluster weapons to target the civilian population in eastern Ukraine and using High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems provided by the United States to attack civilian objects and infrastructure in the Donetsk region, including on the detention centre in Olenivka. She said that, based on the above, “it can be concluded that the Ukrainian side perceives civilians — as well as prisoners of war — as legitimate targets and that its acts in order to achieve as many victims as possible among them”.
She went on to say that, in many cases, the weapons that Western countries deliver to Ukraine end up in third countries, often in the hands of terrorists. Noting “well-founded suspicions” that some of the weapons from Ukraine have already been transferred to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, she said that this represents a potential danger for the outbreak of renewed conflicts. The situation threatens to turn into a direct conflict on a large scale, and the Council has a responsibility to facilitate the establishment of peace and security. This starts with the cessation of the supply of Western weapons to Ukraine and the closure of the black arms market, she added.
VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) said Western colleagues have launched the largest‑scale proxy war against the Russian Federation using Ukrainians. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is manually directing Kyiv in the “theatre of war”; Ukraine is awash with Western military instructors, special services and mercenaries. As well, in a number of NATO countries, Ukrainian military units are being trained. According to the most modest assessments, the United States and its allies spent about $20 billion to support Ukraine in this year alone. American media reports that United States President Joseph R. Biden’s Administration intends to request another $20 billion in emergency funding only for the first quarter of 2023. Meanwhile, Ukrainians are being told consistently that, in using modern Western weapons — so called “Wunderwaffe” — they will be able to change the course of the military campaign and “become victorious” over the Russian Federation. Underscoring that “we are far from the end of this destructive process”, he said that Western weaponry is not playing a decisive role on the battlefield, regardless of what the Ukrainian vassals are saying. The Russian army, with minimal risk to its soldiers and civilians, is destroying not only the old weaponry of Soviet models, but also modern NATO weapons.
However, using the long-range NATO artillery and rocket launchers, the Kyiv regime is now striking civilian and other infrastructure, resulting in the carnage in Yelenovka, the continuous shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and civilian areas in Donbas, he continued. Moreover, by “pumping” Ukraine with weaponry, which are used against civilian objects, European Union countries are violating their “Common Position” rules, which ban the licensing arms exports if it creates a violation of international humanitarian law. The main beneficiaries are those who are loudest in beating the “drums of war” — the United States and Great Britain, he said, noting that their military contractors are making huge profits. Addressing colleagues from developing countries, he said his delegation convened today’s meeting so that they can understand the cynicism and mendacity of the countries in the collective West’s appeals to stop our “so called ‘war of choice’”. “By creating a neo-Nazi hornet’s nest on our borders and supporting the Kyiv regime’s war against their own people in 2014, they left us no choice,” he said.
EDWIGE KOUMBY MISSAMBO (Gabon), recalling the recent spate of Council meetings on Ukraine, stressed that the same must focus on looking for solutions to end the war, which has resulted in too many deaths, too much destruction of civilian infrastructure and too many economic consequences worldwide. Expressing concern that signs seem to be pointing towards a war of attrition, she emphasized that “humanity does not need that”. It is time to silence the guns in Ukraine; more weapons results in more death, destruction and misery. The correlation between the proliferation of weapons and insecurity is “evident and manifest”, she said, urging the parties to cease all forms of escalation, whether military or verbal. Stressing that the Security Council should be able to justify its name in each of these meetings, she urged the organ to work towards a solution to this conflict.
BARBARA WOODWARD (United Kingdom) said Ukraine has every right to defend itself, legally and morally. It is fighting not just for its existence, but in defence of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations itself. “And Ukraine is succeeding,” she stated, noting the meeting lays bare the Russian Federation’s hypocrisy. She reported that President Vladimir Putin’s troops are tiring, his losses are colossal, supply lines are vulnerable and his territorial gains are ephemeral. She warned that Moscow is now turning to Iran to supply unmanned aerial vehicle, and — in a clear violation of United Nations sanctions — turning to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to supply ammunition. Calling for the Russian Federation to withdraw its troops from Ukraine so that its territorial integrity and sovereignty can be restored, she stressed that any negotiation must be premised on those fundamental principles. The United Kingdom will continue to support Ukraine, and to stand for freedom, democracy and the sovereignty of nations around the world, she said.
RICHARD M. MILLS, JR. (United States) clarified that today’s meeting is an attempt to distract from the 7 September meeting on the forced displacement of Ukrainians amid reports of torture associated with the Russian Federation’s “abhorrent” use of filtration camps. The United States had warned about the Russian Federation’s premediated strategy to invade Ukraine, he said, recalling Moscow’s “fervent” insistence that its massive mobilization was only a routine military exercise. Now, it has the gall to accuse others of refusing to stand aside while it seeks to destroy another Member State, in violation of international law. The United States is proud to stand with Kyiv and its partners from more than 50 countries to provide vital security assistance to Ukraine in defence of its sovereignty. “We are not hiding this support,” he said, stressing that Ukrainians have every right to defend themselves. “We will not stop our support to Ukraine just because Russia is frustrated that its attempt at regime change has not gone to plan.” It bears repeating all countries have the inherent right to self-defence, he said, consistent with Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations.
He encouraged Council members to consider what they would do if they were in Ukraine’s shoes, asking: “How would you respond if a bigger neighbour invaded you? What would you ask of the international community?” None would allow their cities to be shelled to rubble. The Russian Federation’s claims that the West is escalating the conflict are a cynical attempt to deflect attention from its role as the sole aggressor of a war for which the world is paying the price, he said. The United States is not using force against Russian Federation, nor seeking a war with it. However, the United States will not fail to condemn President Putin’s choice to pursue this invasion. Even now, Moscow is purchasing millions of rockets and artillery shells from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for use in Ukraine, which would violate Security Council resolutions. Before this invasion, the United States engaged in intense diplomacy seeking every avenue to address mutual concerns to address security in Europe. The Russian Federation did not take this path. The United States has provided security assistance not only to allow Ukraine to defend itself, but to help it deal with consequences with this awful war. It provided $1.9 billion in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and the region since the Russian Federation invaded eight years ago. It also channelled $8.5 billion in budget support to Ukraine through World Bank mechanisms.
KHALILAH HACKMAN (Ghana) expressed concern that Council meetings have not constructively supported diplomatic actions required in the immediate term at ending the hostilities and assisting the parties in finding a mutually acceptable and lasting solution. She called on the international community to devote all efforts towards finding a pacific solution to the conflict — but in a manner which also ensures that that there are no benefits accorded to parties whose ab initio actions are unacceptable under international law. Warning of the real risk of the conflict engulfing the whole European continent, she further expressed concern over the resumption of shelling near the Zaporizhzhia power plant despite the looming risk it presents to Ukraine and the world at large. She voiced support for the sustained commitment of all parties and relevant actors to the Black Sea Grain Initiative to help bring critical food aid to people in other parts of the world where famine conditions exist. Similarly, rising fuel prices are rapidly translating to unprecedented cost of living standards, especially in developing countries. “We need peace in Ukraine, peace that is founded on nothing less than the norms and principles of international law and the Charter of the United Nations,” she stated.
JUAN GÓMEZ ROBLEDO VERDUZCO (Mexico), expressing surprise at the haste with which the meeting was convened, said that topics of this importance, especially when predictable, should be scheduled sufficiently in advance and without having to improvise. Moreover, the Council’s consideration of the topic should lead to concrete steps to fulfil its primary responsibility for the maintenance of peace and security, he said, voicing regret that the Council has limited itself to deliberating and continuing to deliberate. His concern about arms transfers includes arms transfers that had been happening since the beginning of the conflict in eastern Ukraine in 2013, he noted. As long as the Council does not assume its responsibility in this situation, he said he recognized the right to legitimate defence and the right to acquire arms for its defence. However, this should always go hand in hand with protections and safeguards necessary to minimize risks, avoid diversion or use of those weapons to commit severe and systematic violations of human rights or international humanitarian law, he said.
FERIT HOXHA (Albania) said that the title for today’s meeting should have been “Worldwide Solidarity and Support for a Country that Has Been Brutally Attacked by its Neighbour Whose Intentions Are to Wipe It from the Map”. This is all the Council should discuss — not weapons, including those Iran and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea are reportedly providing to the Russian Federation. Welcoming the international community’s solidarity and support for Ukraine, he said that this comes in different forms, including — “and so rightfully so” — direct defensive military aid to a Government and people who are under a premeditated, unjustified attack by a neighbour “who wishes you well by throwing bombs and destroying your homes”. Underscoring that there are no warring parties in Ukraine — “there is an aggressor and a country rightfully defending itself” — he said that Article 51 of the Charter provides an unquestionable legal basis for States to provide assistance to a country exercising its inherent right to self-defence. “Russia did not go to Ukraine with flowers, but with guns,” he stressed, adding that there should be no surprise “that it was not welcomed with flowers, but with guns and, as we see, outgunned”.
RUCHIRA KAMBOJ (India) noted that, since the commencement of the conflict in Ukraine, her country has consistently called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and an end to violence, with dialogue and diplomacy the only way forward. It is therefore regrettable that the situation in Ukraine has not shown any significant improvement — despite today’s Council meeting being the third in as many days in this week alone. Urging the international community to continue to respond to the call for humanitarian assistance, she noted India recently dispatched its twelfth consignment of aid to Ukraine, in keeping its national values which perceive the world as one family. Citing the collective interest in working constructively — both inside the United Nations and outside — towards seeking an early resolution to the conflict, she reiterated that the global order is anchored on international law, the Charter of the United Nations and respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty of States.
MICHAEL KIBOINO (Kenya) said the question of how to collectively build a peaceful world order underpins today’s discussions. The Council — and the international community — must fully face up to the strategic thinking that led to this war, and act to minimize the risk of escalation, while establishing channels of dialogue that will lead to a stable global order. In Africa, aspirations for development, united action against climate change and security are degenerating, due to the war’s direct and indirect impacts. The use of militarized alliances, sanctions, blockades, cyberattacks and proxy in third countries, along with the undermining of multilateral institutions, are all blunting the ability to collectively solve today’s most serious challenges. They are distorting the global economy by shifting the patterns of trade and investment. “This is undermining the engine of globalization that most countries sought to recruit in their search for growth and development,” he warned. It is in the global interest to end this war and usher in a new age of global peace and cooperation. He urged warring parties and their allies to start discussions on guidelines to help modify their strategic posture, identifying areas where cooperation is necessary and achievable. They should honestly face each other’s most serious security concerns and undertake regular dialogue to clarify positions, minimize misunderstanding and reverse the risks of escalation. The United Nations Charter offers the fundamental template. He called for a cessation of hostilities and a political settlement that respects Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence.
RONALDO COSTA FILHO (Brazil) said he could not but be disheartened at yet another Council meeting — the third this week — on the topic of Ukraine. The conflict has dragged on for over six months, and despite the constant discussions, “we have not been successful in fostering a suspension of hostilities”. Stressing that military action inflicts damage, undermines faith in international law and jeopardizes millions of people’s lives, he voiced concern over the humanitarian impact of the conflict. There is no alternative to the negotiation of a ceasefire as a first step on the way to solving the crisis. As a party to the Arms Trade Treaty, Brazil abides by its principles and believes they offer a valuable guideline for the transfer of arms. The Treaty highlights the importance of respecting and ensuring respect for international humanitarian law and for human rights law, regardless of military objectives or security concerns. The Treaty also urges States to “effectively regulate” their arms trade, so as to prevent diversion, through systems of effective national control. These principles should serve the objectives of promoting responsible action in arms trade, building confidence, reducing human suffering and contributing to international and regional peace, security and stability.
LANA ZAKI NUSSEIBEH (United Arab Emirates) said what is happening in Ukraine is a result of the war. “While the past cannot be changed, the Council can still have an impact on the present and future trajectory of this conflict,” and make today’s meeting worthy and relevant, she said. After six months, the war risks settling into a protracted conflict. However, “we should not resign ourselves to this reality”, she said. She called for dialogue, sooner or later, and a political solution based on respect for sovereignty, international law and the Charter. It is crucial that the recipients of weapons be accounted for, so these arms do not inadvertently end up in terrorist hands. She noted with concern warnings by the Secretary-General of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) about the dangers of the availability of weapons and possibility of criminal groups exploiting their proliferation. She echoed the call for suppliers to track and trace weapons entering Ukraine. “Geopolitical tensions risk undermining the very mechanisms we have in place to manage conflict, promote stability and ensure prosperity,” she warned, pointing to the lack of an agreed outcome at the tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Recent terrorist attacks by Al Shabaab or the heavy weapons displays by the Houthis recall the risks associated with the limited enforcement of existing arms control mechanisms. Without action, proliferation will continue to grow exponentially.
CÁIT MORAN (Ireland) said the decision by the Russian Federation to recognize as independent entities the non-Government‑controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine has not changed those borders “one iota”. They did not change in 2014, and they have not changed since. Ukraine did not commit or threaten to commit an armed attack against the Russian Federation. It was the Russian Federation that attacked Ukraine, and sought to justify its invasion by invoking Article 51 of the Charter, and which would now seek to deny a fellow United Nations Member State that same right of self-defence. There is no credible evidence of diversion and no indication that exports are taking place, other than in accordance with national laws and international procedure. This includes military support provided by the European Union to help Ukraine exercise its inherent right of self-defence and defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty. The Russian Federation should stop trying to use the Council as a platform for its disinformation campaign and stop painting itself as the victim of its aggression in the face of the heinous accusations it has committed in Ukraine, she said, calling on that country to desist.
TRINE SKARBOEVIK HEIMERBACK (Norway) reiterated that the Russian Federation’s war on Ukraine is a serious violation of international law. It must abide by the order of the International Court of Justice and immediately suspend its military operations in that territory. She restated unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, unequivocally condemning all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law — including the reported killing of Ukrainian civilians and strikes on civilian infrastructure. She also affirmed that Ukraine has a right to defend itself against the armed attack as enshrined in Article 51 of the Charter, and that other States are entitled to respond positively to Ukraine’s call for assistance in the exercise of its legitimate self-defence. What is blatantly illegal, she stressed, is the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine. It must fully and unconditionally withdraw its forces and military equipment.
GENG SHUANG (China) expressed concern that more munitions are flowing to the battlefield, giving rise to the prospect of prolonged conflict. He reiterated his country’s position that supplying weapons will not bring peace and that “adding fuel to fire” will only complicate the problem. Large amounts of materiel falling into the wrong hands will cause endless trouble and create security risks in Ukraine and the wider area. By way of example, he said that, in Afghanistan, up to $7 billion worth of weapons were discarded by withdrawing troops, and are now being sold on the black market in broad daylight. This will be a long-term obstacle to building lasting peace in Afghanistan and will pose security risks to the region. He also pointed out that firearms left by foreign troops in Somalia in the 1990s fell into the hands of terrorists and that, in the 1930s and 1940s, invaders left behind chemical weapons in China that still threaten lives, property and the environment. He stressed that only seeking common, cooperative and sustainable security will bring long-term stability to Europe and the world.
NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE (France), Council President for September, spoke in his national capacity to say that the Russian Federation has imposed a war on the whole world with major humanitarian, food, energy and nuclear consequences. Because of that, France made a determined choice to help Ukraine defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity. “Today, Ukraine is fighting for the values and principles, which are also ours, and are also the principles contained in the United Nations Charter,” he emphasized. It was his country’s duty, and the purview of the Council, to defend these rules, for peace and international stability. As such, France provides military support to Ukraine with the means to defend itself. It is working with the European Union where a collective decision was made to fund weapons, so Ukraine can withstand the Russian Federation’s aggression. “We would like to create the conditions, which would enable, at a time of Ukraine’s choosing, either a military victory or a negotiated peace under the terms which would be different from the terms it would have to accept if we abandoned Ukraine to its fate,” he noted. The military assistance will continue for as long as Russian armed aggression continues as will its humanitarian, economic and political assistance to Ukraine, he said.
Mr. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation), taking the floor a second time, pointed out that his Western colleagues did not discuss the topic at hand, shifting instead to again make accusations against Moscow. Noting speculations from the United States and the United Kingdom regarding filtration camps, brutality and torture, he said that he will not comment on this issue again as it has already been discussed. On statements by the “Western backers” of Kyiv that they have only provided defensive weaponry, he said that Ukraine is using these weapons to shell civilian residential areas in the Donbas. Recalling statements by the United States and the United Kingdom that the Russian Federation is buying weaponry from Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he asked those countries to either provide evidence to substantiate these claims or to acknowledge that they are disseminating unreliable information in the Council.
SERGIY KYSLYTSYA (Ukraine) recalled a quote by Queen Elizabeth II who, near the time of the Russian Federation’s 2008 invasion of Georgia said: “When life seems hard the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat. They are all the more determined to struggle for a better future.” By launching its aggression against Ukraine in 2014 and invading Ukraine in 2022, the Russian Federation has violated the norms and principles of nearly all fundamental international documents, including the Helsinki Final Act and the Charter of the United Nations. No one on this planet but Damascus and Pyongyang doubt this fact. Referring to the General Assembly resolution adopted on 2 March by an overwhelming majority of 141 Member States, deploring in the strongest terms the aggression against Ukraine in violation of the Charter’s Article 2, he said international law guards the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Not a single State present today, besides the Russian Federation, is responsible for the Council’s inability to perform its Charter functions. From the permanent seat of Soviet Union, it has immobilized the Council in ensuring the peace and security of Ukraine. “We are defending ourselves, Europe, the world and the UN Charter,” he said. “We will keep fighting until the last inch of sovereign territory of Ukraine, including Crimea, is liberated,” in line with Article 51 of the Charter.
The only thing Vladimir Putin can do to save the lives of his soldiers is to order their immediate withdrawal. The level of destruction, and the global implications of the war make it clear that fighting him today can only be compared to the common fight against Adolf Hitler during the Second World War. He recalled that the Declaration by the United Nations — the first time the term “united nations” was used — was signed in 1942 in Washington, D.C., to unite the world’s peoples in their struggle against the Nazis. Nikita Khrushchev wrote that “if the United States had not helped us, we would not have won the war”. Even dictator Joseph Stalin offered the same opinion in 1943. It was due to this global unity, lend-lease and assistance by the United States and its allies that the world succeeded in defeating Hitler. “The evil of Putin — as that of Hitler before him — requires a global response,” he insisted. Ukraine and its allies are doing their best to ensure such a response. Stressing that the liberation of Ukraine’s territory is well under way, he said Kharkiv and Kherson serve as best proof of those efforts. Noting that the Russian Federation has abused the Security Council several times, he called on it to learn to respect the Chamber. There is only one right avenue to save Ukrainians and Russians alike: “surrender and withdraw” he said.
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