Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the UN Security Council meeting on the humanitarian situation in Syria

Mr. President,

Thank you for giving me the floor this time and not preventing our delegation from taking this floor - like you so skillfully did yesterday, using your prerogative as President and showing no respect to my delegation.

I agree with a colleague from New Zealand that, unfortunately, we are not able to come together and stop the tragedy in Syria. But, I am not ready to accept this collective blame, simply because it is only one delegation - your delegation - Mr. President, which is preventing us from doing this. Neither I am ready to accept your attacks on the UN officials.

Your national statement, Mr. President, creates an impression that you are living in some sort of parallel world, a kind of a twisted reality, which is completely opposite to what we see and hear every day for months now in Syria.

The deteriorating security environment in Syria continues to negatively impact the humanitarian situation. Military activities, airstrikes, shellings go unabated on all active fronts of Syrian battlefield – Aleppo, Idlib, Rif Dimashq, Homs, Hama etc. It all results in further increase of a number of people living under siege, now having reached, as we have just heard, 861 000 civilians in 18 locations.

It is impossible to comprehend that the Syrian government continues to bomb its citizens. Just this Monday at least 10 airstrikes by the Assad regime air force and its allies hit the town of Khan Shaykhun killing seven civilians and injuring more than 50 according to the reports from the ground. Six civilians were killed in Russian airstrikes on the town of Kafar Takharim on Monday, two more were killed in a rocket shelling by regime forces - in the town of Jourin in Alghab Plain etc. The list goes on as a grim reminder of the reality in Syria. News reports about the leaflets disseminated by the regime forces in Eastern Aleppo is another proof of the Damascus cynicism. Those leaflets to East Aleppo say: “Read and repeat. If you don't leave, you'll be bombed. Save yourselves. You've been left to your own fate.”

It is dismaying to see that instead of focusing on how to revitalize the nation-wide ceasefire the Russian Federation is moving new type of arms and bomb carriers to bases in a closer proximity to Syria.

The recent deployment of the Russian naval battlegroup in the vicinity of Syria sends a signal of a clear intention to further bolster the bombing campaign there. It can hardly be interpreted by the opposition circles neither as a confidence-building measure nor as a signal that the circumstances are conducive to come back to the negotiations table.

We again stress the urgent need for the UN to look into the alarming reports on the extensive use by Russia of incendiary weapons as well as other indiscriminate weapons, including bunker-buster bombs. We reiterate that those accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity and those who behind them should be brought to justice.

Finally, we join the UN and our colleagues in calling on all parties to the conflict to immediately provide unconditional, unimpeded and sustained access to the people in besieged and hard-to-reach areas across Syria.

Providing regular humanitarian breaks and observing human rights must be obligatory of all parties to the conflict, but not a "gesture of goodwill", which one party agrees today and refuses tomorrow in order to gain political dividends. It is not mercy but a duty.

Thank you.