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Statement by H.E. Mr. Dmytro Kuleba, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, at the UN Security Council meeting
24 February 2023 18:30

Mr. President, 

Distinguished members of the Security Council, 

Secretary-General Guterres,

First of all I would like to thank the Presidency of Malta for convening this important meeting.

The General Assembly has just passed a resolution on the principles of comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in Ukraine. 141 Member States took the side of the UN Charter while 7 took the side of Russia. No additional explanations are required.

The Resolution follows the logic of President Zelenskyy's Peace Formula. The goal of this ten-point plan is to restore respect for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. In full compliance with the UN Charter that we all have committed to respect and uphold. To make it short: the goal of the plan is to get Russia out of Ukraine and make the world a safer place.

Obviously, any new peace proposals should now be aligned with demands set forth by the Resolution. We invite all countries from every corner of the world to facilitate implementation of the Resolution and the Peace Formula's. We need to act jointly and quickly.

To ensure nuclear safety and security—by forcing Russia to withdraw from the illegally occupied Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant and stopping missile attacks that endanger nuclear power plants across the territory of Ukraine.

To avoid the threat of hunger—by furthering the Black Sea Grain Initiative and countering Russian efforts to undermine it, as well as by developing our Grain From Ukraine initiative.

To prevent an energy crisis, which will require the cessation of Russian missile terror against the critical infrastructure of Ukraine.

To protect the environment, as the Russian shelling that burned millions of hectares of Ukrainian forests threatens our efforts to counter global warming.

But first and foremost, people must be saved. Their lives and their rights are at the center of our struggle for peace.

The magnitude of the humanitarian crisis brought on by Russia's aggression against Ukraine cannot be overstated. I would like to highlight here one  of numerous horrendous facts - Russia is now implementing in Ukraine probably the largest instance of state sponsored kidnapping of children in history of our modern world.

Dear members of the Council,

Ukraine will resist as it has done so far, and Ukraine will win. Putin is going to lose much sooner than he thinks.

Here is what Russian officials and servicemen have to know.

You think you would get away with what you did? No, you will end up on trial. You will be testifying how strongly you were opposed to the aggression and you just followed orders.

You think that the world will get tired of supporting Ukraine? The support will only get stronger.

You think that Ukraine will eventually tire of defending itself? The more and the longer you will keep attacking Ukraine, the more resolve we will have and the more humiliating your defeat will be.

Dear colleagues, 

Russian propaganda has fabricated this hypocritical narrative that supplying Ukraine with weapons fuels the war. Ukraine indeed needs weapons, just as a firefighter needs water to extinguish a fire. The fire that is destroying your home and killing innocent people. The sooner and the more we get, the sooner the fire will be extinguished.

Arming a country that defends itself from aggression is absolutely legitimate and is an act of defending the UN Charter. On the contrary, helping an aggressor is illegitimate and defies the Charter. Any supply of weapons or military equipment to Russia means complicity in the trampling of the UN Charter. If you give weapons to Russia, you commit a crime.

In the short term, Ukraine needs to restore its sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

And in the long run, justice must be served.

The Nuremberg International Military Tribunal's verdict was crystal clear: war of aggression is not only a war crime; it is the supreme international crime, distinguishing itself from other war crimes only in that it contains the accumulated evil of the whole.

This is why we call for the establishment of a Special Tribunal with specific jurisdiction over the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine and the ability to deal with the personal immunities of the principal perpetrators of this crime.

The geography of Russian crimes against international peace and security goes far beyond the borders of Ukraine and reaches Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Russia not only incites conflicts, but also systematically obstructs UN Security Council decisions needed to resolve them.

Today Russia argued that this Council is overly focused on Ukraine and ignores problems of the rest of the world. Let us all remember the truth - Russia is the problem of the world.

I open the UN Charter, that I have here in font of me and I do not see the words here “member states can attack other member states at their will”. I don’t see the words “violating borders is allowed”. Furthermore, and most importantly I don’t see the words “the Russian Federation” in the UN Charter on the list of permanent security council members.

In 1991, Russia usurped the USSR’s seat of the permanent Security Council member and turned it… into its Throne of Impunity.

The future of Russia in the United Nations should be determined in the context of the illegitimate change of plates from USSR to Russia in 1991 and responsibility for crimes committed on the territory of Ukraine, including war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

I say it again and again: Peace means justice. And all the peace-loving nations will win peace on the battlefield and at the diplomatic tables.

Finally, on this tragic date, when we mourn lives and destinies broken by Russia, I kindly ask everyone to observe a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the aggression. 

Mr. President, I thank you.

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