‘For the Sake of Ukraine’s People, Global Community’ Russian Federation’s Unjustified War Must Stop, Under-Secretary-General Tells Security Council
The decision by the Russian Federation to terminate the Black Sea Grain Initiative will strike a blow to people in need everywhere, a senior United Nations official warned the Security Council today, emphasizing that in addition to causing unconscionable death and destruction, the war in Ukraine has greatly diminished the international community’s ability to face an uncertain future.
Briefing the Council, Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, said that the Black Sea Grain Initiative had enabled the safe export of some 33 million metric tons of foodstuffs from three Ukrainian ports, helping to relieve hunger in Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and Yemen. Moscow’s decision to suspend the deal will not deter the Organization’s efforts to facilitate the unimpeded access to global markets for food products and fertilizer from both Ukraine and the Russian Federation.
In the 500 days since the Russian Federation invaded Ukraine, 9,287 civilians have been killed and 16,384 injured, most under Russian armed forces fire, she continued. Ukraine was the country with the highest number of children killed and maimed in 2022. And the attacks continue. On 27 June, Russian missiles hit Kramatorsk, reportedly killing 11 people, including 14-year-old twin sisters. On 6 July, bombardments hit Kyiv, Odesa and Lviv, which are far from the front lines. On 8 July, Russian shelling reportedly killed at least eight civilians in Lyman. Civilians in areas under Russian control face mortal danger too. On 9 July, four civilians were killed in Orikhiv in the Zaporizhzhia region.
“For the sake of the Ukrainian people and for the sake of our global community, this senseless, unjustified war must stop,” she stressed, expressing deep concern that in recent days, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had heard a series of explosions apparently taking place some distance away from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. This is a stark reminder of potential nuclear security risks facing the facility during the military conflict.
As Council members and invited speakers took to the floor to discuss the situation in Ukraine, many strongly condemned the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine and urged Moscow to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and recommit to the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
James Cleverly, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom, Council President for the month, speaking in his national capacity, noted that 19,000 Ukrainian children remain in Russian camps and a further 2.5 million Ukrainian men and women were deported to the Russian Federation. Moscow is trying to erase Ukrainian identity. “But the world is watching Russia — and will hold the guilty to account,” he stressed. Voicing concern about Moscow’s refusal to extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative, he called on the Russian Federation to agree to extend it indefinitely and to implement it without delay. Addressing the Russian Federation President, he said: “Mr. Putin — end your war now.”
The delegate of the United States said that all must urge the Russian Federation to continue its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative. The United States and its allies have imposed sanctions on individuals and entities that provide political and economic support to the Russian Federation’s war efforts. The security assistance, including weapons, which the United States and more than 50 other countries are providing is for Ukraine’s self-defence.
“Military means cannot stop the Ukrainian crisis,” China’s delegate stressed, pointing out that developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America have all put forward peace proposals, reflecting a strong desire to resolve the crisis through political means. Rational voices supporting the resumption of talks have become stronger. The Ukrainian crisis proves that the pursuit of absolute security and expanding military alliance can only bring turmoil.
Mozambique’s representative said that the war in Ukraine is being fought both in the battlefield as well as “in the court of a perplexed public opinion”, also warning: “A world thus divided will not be able to muster the resources and political will needed to face the countless other global challenges we are confronted with.”
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that by killing the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Moscow is blackmailing the world, affecting millions of Ukrainians and tens of millions more around the globe. Yet, the Russian Federation is increasing exports of its own grain, including the ones stolen from Ukraine’s temporarily occupied territories. “Russia must stop playing hunger games with people around the world,” he stressed, calling on all Member States to firmly demand Moscow resume participation in the deal. Future Council reform must include the decision to deprive the Russian Federation of its illegally obtained status as a permanent member. “This Council and the entire world will become a healthier place once Russia is out of here,” he underscored.
The representative of the Russian Federation said that the root cause of the worsening tragedy in Ukraine was the 2014 anti-constitutional coup in Kyiv, provoked “in colonial tradition” by the United States and its Western allies. Spotlighting the “latest terrorist attack by the Kyiv regime” that targeted a bridge in Crimea today, he said “there are no crimes that the West is unwilling to commit to preserve its hegemony in global affairs”. He noted his Government’s decision to end the Black Sea Grain Initiative as of 18 July, stating that the deal was reformatted from a humanitarian operation to a commercial one and that the Kyiv “regime” continues to use the cover of an open maritime corridor to attack Russian Federation civilian and military objects. Moscow stands ready to consider resuming the initiative, he added, when concrete results are achieved.
At the onset of the meeting, the representative of the Russian Federation voiced his “principled disagreement” with the Council President’s approach of inviting delegations to meetings under Rule 37 of the organ’s rules of procedure. The United Kingdom provided eight member States of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) — and the representative of the European Union itself — with the opportunity to speak today, despite existing practice of no more than three countries speaking under that rule in meetings concerning Ukraine.
The meeting began at 3:06 p.m. and ended at 5:49 p.m.
Point of Order
DMITRY A. POLYANSKIY (Russian Federation) voiced his “principled disagreement” with the Security Council President’s approach of inviting delegations to meetings under Rule 37 of the organ’s rules of procedure. The United Kingdom has provided eight member States of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) — and the representative of the European Union itself — with the opportunity to speak today, despite existing practice of no more than three countries speaking under that rule in meetings concerning Ukraine. This is an “unscrupulous attempt” to exert pressure on Council members, he said, noting that no explanation has been provided for transforming this Council meeting into a “NATO hangout”. He stressed that the United Kingdom has, again, placed its national position and the interests of NATO above its obligations as Council President.
ROSEMARY DICARLO, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, said that in the 500 days since the Russian Federation invaded Ukraine, 9,287 civilians have been killed and 16,384 injured, most under Russian armed forces fire. Ukraine was the country with the highest number of children killed and maimed in 2022. Turning to recent incidents, she recalled that on 27 June, Russian missiles hit the city of Kramatorsk, reportedly killing 11 people, including 14-year-old twin sisters. On 6 July, bombardments hit Kyiv, Odesa and Lviv, which are far from the front lines. On 8 July, Russian artillery shelling reportedly killed at least 8 civilians and wounded 13 in Lyman. Communities in the Sumy region continue to be under constant Russian shelling. Civilians in areas under Russian control also face mortal danger. On 9 July, four civilians were killed and many more injured while receiving humanitarian aid in the town of Orikhiv in Zaporizhzhia region.
The Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine is a blatant violation of the Charter of the United Nations, she stressed. The Organization remains fully committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. The parties involved bear the responsibility to avoid actions that could further escalate tensions. She said that any threat to use nuclear weapons is utterly unacceptable. In recent days, experts of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have heard a series of explosions apparently taking place some distance away from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. They are a stark reminder of potential nuclear safety and security risks facing the facility during the military conflict in the country. Further, she said that the continuing lack of humanitarian access to Russian controlled areas of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions deprives an estimated 3.7 million people of much needed assistance. Meanwhile, the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam has devastated local communities along the Dnipro River.
On displacement, she said that more than 6.3 million Ukrainians are refugees and an estimated 5.1 million people are internally displaced. The United Nations is assisting emergency services to remove over half a million landmines and pieces of unexploded ordnance in order for people to return home. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Russian Federation arbitrarily detained 864 individual cases, she said. “It is deeply disturbing that more than 91 per cent of civilian detainees held by the Russian Federation were reportedly subjected to torture or ill-treatment, including sexual violence,” she continued. Further, she expressed grave concern about the alleged summary execution of 77 civilians while they were arbitrarily detained by the Russian Federation. The United Nations has also documented 75 cases of arbitrary detention by Ukrainian security forces. In 57 per cent of the cases, the United Nations documented the use of torture and ill-treatment.
Turning to the Black Sea Grain Initiative, she said it had enabled the safe export of some 33 million metric tons of foodstuffs from three Ukrainian ports, including more than 750,000 metric tons of wheat transported by the World Food Programme (WFP), helping to relieve hunger in Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and Yemen. The memorandum of understanding on Russian food and fertilizer exports also delivered concrete results over the past year. The decision by the Russian Federation to terminate the Black Sea Gain Initiative will strike a blow to people in need everywhere. This decision will not stop efforts to facilitate the unimpeded access to global markets for food products and fertilizers from both Ukraine and the Russian Federation. “For the sake of the Ukrainian people and for the sake of our global community, this senseless, unjustified war must stop,” she stressed.
JAMES CLEVERLY, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom, Council President for the month, speaking in his national capacity, recalled that he had met a teenage boy, whom he called Denys, in Kyiv in June and who, together with his classmates, had been told by the Russians, when they captured his hometown, that they were going on a holiday. They were in fact transported to a Russian camp where they were neglected, indoctrinated and abused, he said. Although his distraught mother was desperately searching for him, the Russians had told him that his parents had abandoned him, he added, noting that Denys’ ordeal lasted for 7 months before his mother — thanks to the charity Save Ukraine — found him and brought him home. Noting that 19,000 Ukrainian children remain in Russian camps and a further 2.5 million Ukrainian men and women were deported to the Russian Federation, he pointed out that Moscow is trying to erase Ukrainian identity and cultural history and using children as an instrument of war. “But the world is watching Russia — and will hold the guilty to account,” he stressed. Voicing concern about Moscow’s refusal to extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative, he called on the Russian Federation to return to the table and agree to extend it indefinitely and to implement it fully without delay. Addressing the Russian President, he said: “Mr. Putin — bring your troops home. Mr. Putin — end your war now.”
CATHERINE COLONNA, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, underscored that “what is at stake in Ukraine concerns all our States”, as it questions the fundamental principles of the Charter of the United Nations and risks setting precedent. The world’s response will determine collective security for decades to come. She observed that if the international community accepts might over right, that sovereignty and territorial integrity can be flouted with impunity and that the aggressor and the aggressed can be placed on equal footing, “then we will be contributing to creating the conditions for other wars”. The war concerns all because its consequences weigh heavily on people around the world — the Russian Federation’s aggression is having “too many consequences everywhere”, she stressed.
She went on to emphasize that while the Russian Federation pretends to show solidarity but offers nothing to help others, France organized a recent summit in Paris that set a clear course for mobilizing funding for countries that need it most. While the Russian Federation deploys its militias to plunder Africa’s resources, France has increased its development partnerships and become the fourth-largest donor of official aid. And, while Moscow subjects the renewal of the Black Sea Grain Initiative to blackmail, the European Union has improved its Solidarity Lanes, which have enabled the export of more than 38 million tons of grain. Adding that any solution leading to ratification of the Russian Federation’s illegal annexation of whole swathes of Ukraine’s territory “will only pave the way for future conflicts”, she warned that “thinking otherwise would be a fatal error”.
LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD (United States) said all must urge the Russian Federation to extend the cross-border mechanism into Syria and continue its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Noting that her country has determined that members of the Russian forces and other Russian officials have committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine, she said the international community has taken steps to hold those responsible to account. Moreover, her country and its allies have imposed sanctions on individuals and entities that provide political and economic support to the Russian Federation’s war efforts and will continue to provide Ukraine with humanitarian and security assistance. Addressing Moscow’s assertions that that assistance is the reason the war continues, she emphasized that the security assistance, including weapons, which the United States and more than 50 other countries are providing is for Ukraine’s self-defence. The Russian Federation can end this war today by pulling out its troops, she stressed.
TAKEI SHUNSUKE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, condemned the Russian Federation for taking the rest of the world “hostage”, expressing deep regret over Moscow’s decision to halt the Black Sea Grin Initiative. “Russia must immediately and unconditionally withdraw its forces from Ukraine,” he stressed, urging it to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. “Japan will stand with Ukraine as it defends itself for a just and lasting peace.” If a permanent member of the Security Council unilaterally attempts to change the status quo of territories of its neighbours by force or coercion, it should be held accountable and face consequences commensurate with their privileges, he added. “Russia abuses the veto power. The veto is not for impunity,” he continued. The veto should embody heavier responsibilities of the permanent members. The Russian Federation is trying to threaten the world with irresponsible nuclear rhetoric, the deployment of nuclear weapons in Belarus and the seizure and militarization of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. “We have to admit that the credibility of this Council is eroding,” he pointed out, calling on the 15-member organ to reform to restore the trust of the international community.
FERIT HOXHA (Albania), noting that Samuel Beckett would be jealous if he were alive, said that “the theatre of [the] absurd is thriving in Russia”. Moscow’s propaganda has always claimed that, despite the devastating consequences of the war, there are no facts and that everything was staged by Ukraine, pushed by Western hysteria. That is, however, until the leader of the notorious Wagner Group claimed that the invasion was nothing less or more than “a racket, perpetrated by a corrupt elite chasing money and glory without concern for Russian lives”, he recalled, adding it was hard to say this more accurately. Noting that Moscow just ended the Black Sea Grain Initiative — gambling, again, with the needs of the vulnerable — he underscored that the Russian Federation’s assault on a sovereign country threatens not only Europe, but also the “astonishing human efforts” since the Second World War to build a global peace through international rule of law.
MOHAMED ISSA ABUSHAHAB (United Arab Emirates) expressed regret that the Black Sea Grain Initiative will not continue and Ukrainian food items will struggle to reach those who depend upon them. “Though this remains a political decision, it is the most vulnerable who are now forced to grapple with the very real consequences of this decision,” he said. The initiative is one of the few positives in this conflict. For its part, his country is distributing $100 million of aid for Ukraine, including the provision of generators and LED lights for civilians, supplies for babies, as well as a grant of $4 million for programmes supporting the welfare of orphaned children. Although today’s news is disappointing, it should not dissuade collective efforts. Calling for an end to this war and all genuine efforts to mitigate its consequences, he emphasized that de-escalation and dialogue are necessary to achieve a sustainable and just peace.
HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana) said that in the absence of a common message from this Council, it is well past time for the parties to heed to the voice of the eleventh emergency special session of the General Assembly, which in all its seven resolutions, called for an immediate end to the war through a peaceful settlement. The warring parties must strictly comply with international law, including international humanitarian law, especially the requirement to make a distinction of ordinary non-combatant populations to avoid harming them. He also urged Ukraine and the Russian Federation to embrace the five concrete principles put forward by IAEA to preserve the safety and security of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. Emphasizing that every grain produced should be able to reach the global market, he expressed disappointment that the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which has delivered more than 32 million tons of food commodities to 45 countries, has not been renewed.
GENG SHUANG (China) said that the international community should work together to prevent the situation from getting “out of control”. “Military means cannot stop the Ukrainian crisis,” he continued, also adding: “No matter how long the crisis lasts it will eventually be resolved by political means.” Rational voices supporting the resumption of talks have become stronger and stronger. Developing countries from Asia, Africa and Latin America have all put forward peace proposals — though different in context, they all reflect a strong desire to resolve the crisis through political means. The Ukrainian crisis proves that the pursuit of absolute security, inciting bloc confrontation and expanding military alliance is an outdated way of thinking and can only bring turmoil to Europe and the whole world. The Ukrainian crisis has dealt a severe blow to world development. Developing countries are now facing more difficulty achieving sustainable development. Prudence and restraint should be exercised in the transfer of cluster bombs, he added.
PEDRO COMISSÁRIO AFONSO (Mozambique) said that the war in Ukraine is being fought both in the battlefield as well as “in the court of a perplexed public opinion”. The conflict has so far claimed thousands of lives, destroyed critical socioeconomic infrastructure, and caused global food shortages. “All efforts to end the conflict, including with the African peace initiative, have been in vain,” he said, also adding: “A world thus divided will not be able to muster the resources and political will needed to face the countless other global challenges we are confronted with.” Mozambique has always called the parties in the conflict to take responsibility to protect civilians, ensure compliance with applicable international law and international humanitarian law, and exhaust avenues of dialogue. Mozambique reiterates its call for an immediate cessation of hostilities. “We advocate the return to direct negotiations between the parties as a matter of urgency,” he stressed.
DARREN CAMILLERI (Malta) expressed support for the key principles of Ukraine’s Peace Formula, which also addresses the broader global ramifications of the Russian Federation’s war on food security, energy security, nuclear safety and the environment. Less than one year into the establishment of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, more than 32 million tons of food commodities have been exported to 45 countries across three continents. A lifeline to millions, the initiative is acting as a major bulwark against global food insecurity accelerated by the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Against this backdrop, he voiced deep concern over Moscow’s decision not to renew this initiative further, citing it as “another example of the politicization of humanitarian needs”. It is of utmost importance that this process is further extended and secured, with the consensus of all parties, to alleviate pressures on food security all over the globe, he emphasized.
HERNÁN PÉREZ LOOSE (Ecuador) stressed that Member States must move from the logic of domination of one State over another by military supremacy to the logic of diplomacy to avoid a wider conflict and seek definitive peace. Further, they must recognize the valuable contribution of the United Nations system and its partners on the ground. The parties must unreservedly respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, which implies not attacking humanitarian personnel and their equipment, he said, urging the Russian Federation to allow humanitarian access in the areas temporarily under its occupation. He encouraged the safe exchange of prisoners and deplored the violations of children’s rights and that the protracted invasion continues to claim their lives. Expressing utmost disappointment at Moscow’s announced withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, he stressed that the Russian Federation’s military aggression against Ukraine should not last another day because it is outside the bounds of international law.
SÉRGIO FRANÇA DANESE (Brazil) said “just the condemnation of illegal actions in the course of this war, in itself, will not bring us closer to peace”, urging both sides to de-escalate the fighting and initiate discussions on parameters for a comprehensive peace agreement, considering Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as the legitimate security concerns of all parties. Massive transfers of highly lethal weapons to the battlefront can further undermine prospects for a peaceful outcome. The increasing flow of weapons into the conflict will only fuel more violence and won’t contribute to ending it. The Black Sea Grain Initiative has made an important contribution to stabilizing international food and fertilizer prices. In the absence of an agreement for a comprehensive and lasting peace, the parties involved should spare no efforts to renew what Ms. DiCarlo described, in one of the previous meetings, as a “beacon of hope”.
PASCALE CHRISTINE BAERISWYL (Switzerland) said that both in Lugano and in London, the international community proved its determination to support Ukraine in its reconstruction process. The prospect of reconstruction is essential: in the wake of Moscow’s military aggression, the loss of human life is immense; added to this is the destruction of Ukrainian infrastructure, which is “a Herculean task” to rebuild. “It is unacceptable that this score continues to worsen,” she asserted, calling on the Russian Federation to cease all combat operations and to withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory without delay. Moreover, restoring global food security is an urgent task, she said, stressing that since the start of Moscow’s military aggression, millions of people around the world have been suffering from food insecurity. Accordingly, she voiced regret over the Russian Federation’s announcement concerning the Istanbul agreements. Underscoring an urgent need to restore global food security, she said “hunger must never again become a weapon of war”.
Mr. POLYANSKIY (Russian Federation) said that the root cause of the worsening tragedy in Ukraine was the 2014 anti-constitutional coup in Kyiv, provoked “in colonial tradition” by the United States and its Western allies. Since then, those who lead the Kyiv “regime” have not been guided by Ukraine’s interests as they abandoned good-neighbourly relations with the Russian Federation and began advancing rabid nationalism. Stressing that Kyiv deliberately brought the Ukrainian crisis to the point of military confrontation with the Russian Federation, he said that his country “had to protect those eliminated by Kyiv”. Further, he emphasized that all the “incantations” of his Western colleagues about the alleged “war of choice” can no longer persuade anyone, underscoring that the “time bomb that was detonated on 22 February 2022 was programmed by the West, at a minimum in 2014 and, actually, even earlier”.
He went on to spotlight the “latest terrorist attack by the Kyiv regime” that targeted a bridge in Crimea today, noting that “there are no crimes that the West is unwilling to commit to preserve its hegemony in global affairs”. Turning to the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, he recalled that resolution 2166 (2014) stipulated the need to conduct a thorough investigation in this regard. However, this was not carried out, and this disaster became nothing other than an element of a mendacious “anti-Russia campaign”, he said. He also noted his Government’s decision to end the Black Sea Grain Initiative as of 18 July, stating that the initiative was reformatted from a humanitarian operation to a commercial one and that the Kyiv “regime” continues to use the cover of an open maritime corridor to attack Russian Federation civilian and military objects. Moscow stands ready to consider resuming the initiative, he added, when concrete results — not promises and assurances from Western capitals — are achieved.
LILLY STELLA NGYEMA NDONG (Gabon) called on those countries with “any influence on the main players” to act so that real dialogue can be initiated. Gabon called on the Secretary-General to continue to encourage the launch of talks. The international community must coordinate various diplomatic initiatives. The Black Sea Grain Initiative is a vital agreement for many countries. “We hope that it will be renewed,” she added. Further, nuclear power plants are civilian infrastructure protected by international humanitarian law, she reiterated, stressing: “They must not be used for military purposes”. The humanitarian situation in Ukraine is taking on increasingly critical proportions. She reiterated the need for unimpeded humanitarian access to the most vulnerable people.
DMYTRO KULEBA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, noting that today marks nine years since the Russian Federation shot down the civilian airliner MH17 over his country, killing all 298 people on board, said the case of MH17 is another prime example of Russian lies and abuse of its illegal presence at the Security Council. Instead of admitting guilt and cooperating with the investigation, it chose to promote conspiracy theories to confuse the public. Noting that the Dutch court put an end to all the Russian nonsense, he stressed that no amount of lies can change the truth and avert justice. “In any situation, [the] Russian strategy is kill, lie and deny. Our strategy should be the opposite — strength, truth and accountability,” he underscored. With its killing of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Moscow is blackmailing the world, affecting millions of Ukrainians and tens of millions more around the globe.
Ukraine simply wants to continue operating and expand its capacity, he continued. Detailing Moscow’s systematic obstruction of the initiative’s normal functioning, he said that, as of now, it has fully blocked the initiative, even without announcing its full termination. Yet, Moscow is increasing exports of its own grain, including the one stolen from Ukraine’s temporarily occupied territories, he pointed out. “Russia must stop playing hunger games with people around the world,” he stressed, calling on all Member States to firmly demand Moscow to resume participation in the deal in good faith and to keep politics out of global food security. Turning to its occupation of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, he stressed that the Russian Federation bears full control and responsibility for the situation there. Future Council reform must include the decision to deprive that country of its illegally obtained status as a permanent member and the veto right that comes with it. “This Council and the entire world will become a healthier place once Russia is out of here,” he underscored.
PÉTER SZIJJÁRTÓ, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, underscored that his country’s people are paying a high price for the war, though they bear no responsibility for it. As a neighbouring country, members of which are dying in the war, Hungary favours peace as soon as possible, even if this does not fall “totally in line with mainstream positions”, he said. It is often heard that conditions are not favourable to launch negotiations to find a diplomatic solution; however, such conditions are getting worse every day. He stressed that, the longer the war takes, the more death and devastation will occur “in our neighbourhood”, expressing his wish that the international community would bring more peace than weapons to that neighbourhood.
He went on to state that global security is currently in the worst shape it has been in 80 years, spotlighting open, shameless references to nuclear capacities and the spectre of a Third World War. The world is taking huge steps towards again being divided into blocs, and he recalled Central Europe’s “bad experiences” in this regard. Whenever there is a conflict between East and West, he observed: “Those in Central Europe have always lost.” Against that backdrop, he underscored that, when Hungary argues in favour of cooperation between Eastern and Western Europe, it does so “because this is our national interest”.
ZBIGNIEW RAU, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Poland, described the blatant violation of the Charter of the United Nations by a permanent Security Council member as “the most overwhelming threat to world peace and security since the cold war”. Drawing attention to the suspension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, the constant undermining of security of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and the recent destruction of the dam in Nova Kakhovka by the Russian Federation, he emphasized that the consequences of this war far transcend the Ukrainian and Russian borders. The perpetrators of international crimes must be held accountable, he stressed, expressing his country’s support for the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court and the European Court of Human Rights. Warsaw is engaged in the creation of a special tribunal for the crime of aggression by Moscow. Noting a recent meeting of the proposed tribunal’s core group took place in Poland, he also expressed support for efforts to establish an international mechanism for reparations for damage caused by the invasion by the Russian Federation. In finding peace in Ukraine, it is essential to propose only rightful solutions. The only sustainable peace solution must be based on the Charter and its fundamental principle of territorial integrity. Thus, the international community must support the victim in exercising their right of self-defence.
ANNALENA BAERBOCK, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, recalled the story of a mother whose son was taken from his school near Kharkiv by Russian Federation soldiers. Noting that it took the mother months to get her son back — and that this story “is one of many” — she stated that, since the start of the war, Russian Federation authorities have transferred or deported thousands of Ukrainian children. Those who have been able to return describe shocking experiences, she said, including having their names and ages changed — thus erasing their identities. She noted that, since learning of these crimes, she cannot stop imagining “how I would feel if these children were my two little daughters” — adding that colleagues from Africa, Asia and Latin America feel the same.
She underscored that, when an aggressor does not even stop at children, “tragedy turns into horrendous inhumanity”. On that, she echoed her African colleagues’ proposal to return deported children as a confidence-building measure, inviting all present to join forces to investigate Moscow’s deportations and find ways to bring the children back home. To the Russian Federation, she said: “You can fool yourself, but you cannot fool the world” — adding that the world has seen that country’s atrocities and has spoken to the mothers whose children that country has taken. Also noting Moscow’s announcement that it will withdraw from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, she called on the Russian Federation to stop using hunger as a weapon, stop abducting children and stop its illegal war in Ukraine “in the name of humanity”.
JEAN ASSELBORN, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs of Luxembourg, speaking also on behalf of Belgium and the Netherlands and associating himself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union, noted that Dutch and Belgian people, as well as a family residing in Luxembourg, were among the 298 people killed in the shooting down of flight MH17. He reiterated the demand set out in Council resolution 2166 (2014) that those responsible for the shooting down of the airliner be held to account and that all States fully associate themselves with efforts to establish responsibility. Expressing shock about the devastating impact of the Russian Federation’s unprovoked and unjustified aggression against Ukraine, he underscored the need to implement Council resolutions on the protection of civilian infrastructure, particularly those measures to protect schools from attack. He deplored the Russian Federation’s decision to suspend its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
He welcomed the creation of the International Centre Responsible for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine, which has just begun activities in The Hague, and voiced full support for efforts to set up a tribunal for prosecuting crimes of aggression. He also voiced support for the Council of Europe’s register of damages for Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Peace Formula is a credible peace plan, compatible with the Charter of the United Nations and the aspirations of the Ukrainian people, he said. Their bloc, together with their European partners, will continue to support Ukraine based on the shared values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, he said.
KAROLINE EDTSTADLER (Austria), noting that more than 500 days have passed since the Russian Federation launched an unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine, said “we must not accept living in a world where the law of the powerful overrides the rule of law”. Stressing that the international community should never get used to the reality of the war in Ukraine, she voiced concern over its terrible consequences for the civilian population of that country. Thousands of civilian lives have been lost and nearly one third of Ukrainians were forced to flee their homes. Given that impunity fuels the cycle of atrocities, the perpetrators must be held accountable, she asserted, expressing support for all efforts to do so, including by the International Criminal Court.
Highlighting that the repercussions of the war extend far beyond Ukraine, she cited the impact on food and energy prices around the world as “a direct consequence of the Russian aggression”. Turning to the Black Sea Grain Initiative — a reminder that diplomacy and pragmatism have an important role to play even in these challenging times — she urged Moscow to reconsider its decision announced today and to enable the continuation of the initiative. Further, the risk of the use of nuclear weapons is higher today than it has been in decades, she pointed out, underscoring the urgent need for progress in their disarmament and a departure from the nuclear deterrence paradigm. “Let us not grow numb to the horrible consequences of this war, to the suffering of civilians and to the economic repercussions felt around the globe,” she declared.
GIEDRĖ BALČYTYTĖ, Chancellor of the Government of Lithuania, speaking also on behalf Estonia and Latvia, voiced support for all efforts to hold accountable the Russian Federation and all those responsible for shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. Turning to the Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine, she said Kyiv’s peace formula is the guideline that should be followed in seeking a just and sustainable peace in Ukraine. Any attempts to adapt or simplify it would risk washing out its essence and pandering to the Russian Federation’s manipulation, she stressed, adding that Ukraine must have the final say on peace on its own soil. She condemned Moscow for unilaterally abandoning the Black Sea Grain Initiative and choosing to further aggravate the global food security crisis, which it created by its war of aggression against Ukraine. The Russian Federation must stop the war, and immediately, completely, and unconditionally withdraw its troops and equipment from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders and its territorial waters.
The United Nations community must ensure the protection of the core principles of its cooperation and condemn all those who are actively facilitating Moscow’s war, she continued. Belarus and Iran must end their assistance to Moscow’s aggression and return to compliance with international law. Moreover, the Russian Federation must be held accountable for war crimes, including deliberate destruction of civilian infrastructure and causing environmental disasters. Regarding the crime of aggression, the international community must seek the establishment of the special international tribunal, following Ukraine’s lead. “Aggression as an instrument of international relations must be condemned and eliminated,” she stressed, calling on Member States to unite their efforts in pursuit of the supremacy of international law.
LOTTE MACHON, Deputy Minister for Development Policy of Denmark, also speaking on behalf of Nordic countries, namely Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, expressed grave concern over the grim humanitarian consequences of the Russian Federation’s war of aggression against Ukraine, as well as the war’s devastating global implications. Russian drone attacks and missile strikes continue in Ukraine, with devastating effects for civilians and civilian infrastructure. “We strongly condemn Russia’s indiscriminate warfare and intentional attacks on civilians, as well as Iran’s provision of drones to Russia,” she emphasized, also calling on the Russian Federation to ensure unhindered access for humanitarian actors to all areas under its temporary military control.
Expressing deep concern over the future of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, she said that the initiative had helped avoid a further deterioration of the global food crisis amplified by the Russian Federation’s war on Ukraine. “Let us not forget that the Black Sea Grain Initiative would not have been needed had it not been for the Russian aggression — and Russia obviously bears a heavy responsibility for ensuring its continuation and smooth operation,” she continued. The Nordics deeply deplore the news that the Russian Federation has suspended the initiative and urge Moscow to ensure a long-term rollover and full implementation of the initiative, in line with the Istanbul agreement. “We stand ready to support Ukraine’s initiative for a just peace,” she continued, also adding: “Our resolve is unwavering for as long as it takes.”
BJÖRN OLOF SKOOG, Head of Delegation of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, welcomed all international efforts towards comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine in line with the Charter of the United Nations, General Assembly resolutions and international law, including the recent visit by African leaders. For its part, the Union will support Ukraine as long as it takes and will continue its work to ensure the widest possible international support for the key principles and objectives of Ukraine’s peace formula. Expressing regret over Moscow’s decision to withdraw from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, he said that the initiative’s suspension creates widespread uncertainty in global markets and exacerbates the dire situation of food-importing countries.
“Russia continues to weaponize food and undermine global food security,” he observed, underscoring that this is “deeply irresponsible” at a time when 258 million people face hunger. While it continues to flagrantly violate the Charter, the Russian Federation is now also undermining the multilateral system piece-by-piece, blocking Council action for humanitarian assistance to Syria and preventing the Initiative’s extension. Urging Moscow to reconsider its decision, he recalled that the initiative “would not have been necessary if Russia had not started the full-scale war against Ukraine and blocked Ukrainian Black Sea ports”. He added that the European Union has provided €18 billion to address food-security needs and that work to establish a tribunal for the prosecution of the crime of aggression against Ukraine will continue.
* The 9379th Meeting was closed.