Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the UNSC Briefing on Comprehensive Approach to Mine Action and Explosive Hazard Threat Mitigation

Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the UNSC Briefing on Comprehensive Approach to Mine Action and Explosive Hazard Threat Mitigation

Mr. President,

I would like to express my appreciation to the Bolivian Presidency for convening this briefing and raising such an important topic in the Security Council. I also thank distinguished briefers for their informative presentation.

Ongoing conflicts and military activities in states affected by instability are resulting in contamination of new territories by explosive remnants of war (ERW). Improvised explosive devices are increasingly used by illegal armed and terrorist groups and pose a significant threat to communities recovering from conflict.

That is why mine action remains essential in enabling effective humanitarian response, the protection of civilians and freedom of movement for communities, humanitarian personnel and peacekeepers.

Attaching great importance to these issues, Ukraine in recent years co-sponsored the UN GA resolutions “Assistance in mine actions” (70/80) and “Countering the threat posed by improvised explosive devices” (71/72). We also supported the GA resolutions regarding the Ottawa Convention (71/34) and on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (71/84).

As a State Party of these two Conventions, Ukraine acknowledges their fundamental character in minimizing risks stemming from landmines and explosive remnants of war.

Mr. President,

Despite current significant challenges in the security field caused by the hybrid war waged against Ukraine, we fully comply with the obligations under these treaties.

Indeed, since 2014, the issue of mine action and explosive hazard threat mitigation gained a whole new meaning for my country.

Explosive hazard threat is a direct result of the foreign armed aggression and offensive actions carried out by the hybrid Russian-terrorist forces operating in the some areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine.

Mines and explosive devices are scattered throughout the conflict area, especially along the contact line, and cause severe threat to civilians, including children.

In the period between 16 February and 15 May 2017, 36 civilians died and 157 were wounded in Donbas. This is 70% more than in the same period of the past year. In 40% of cases people died from mines and unexploded ordnance.

These explosive remnants of war are often planted by illegal armed groups in residential areas and along the routes of communication, thus posing more threat to the civil population than to military personnel. Recently, a member of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine fell victim to one of such devices, when a patrol car carrying OSCE personnel was blown up on April 23 near Luhansk.

Unfortunately, Security Council’s statement condemning this horrible incident was blocked by the Russian Federation, which is very telling as to the perpetrators of this crime and to their patrons.

It is in these extremely difficult circumstances that Ukraine is taking all possible measures to destroy and dispose explosive remnants of war in its territory. The State Emergency Service of Ukraine and other national authorities, in close cooperation with UNMAS, UNICEF, the OSCE, NATO and other international partners, are actively engaged in performing a range of demining actions on the liberated territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, including providing mine-risk education for Ukrainian citizens in conflict-affected areas. However, humanitarian demining, would be possible only after the end of hostilities. So far, even repair of critical infrastructure damaged by persistent shelling by Russian guns remains a major challenge.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, I would like to underline the importance of international cooperation in addressing threats posed by explosive remnants of war, improvised explosive devices and landmines, as well as in the implementation of respective international instruments.

We hope that the adoption of the draft resolution tabled by Bolivia will bring closer the total ban of the use of one of the most inhuman weapons of war, ever created.

I thank you.


Further statement in reply to remarks by the representative of Russia:

The one who lives in the glass house should not throw stones. It is appalling that the Russian Federation which supplies separatists in Donbas with all kind of ordnance, ammunition and mines has a nerve to lecture here about mine awareness and de-mining.