Statement by the Delegation of Ukraine at the UN Security Council meeting on “Maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine”

Madam President, distinguished members of the Security Council, Assistant-Secretary-General Khiari

I also recognize the silent residual presence of putin’s regime in the permanent seat of the Soviet Union.

I would like to thank the UK Presidency for organizing this meeting of the Security Council at the request of the delegation of Ukraine.

Last Friday we informed the Security Council of the deliberate Russian attacks in the Odesa region immediately after Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

Since that time Russia has escalated its missile terror against Odesa. On July 23, Russia carried out its fifth air strike in a row, shelling the city center of Odesa with 19 missiles of different types, including anti-ship missiles.

We reiterate that using anti-ship missiles against ground targets effectively turns them into low-precision weapons of indiscriminate effect.

As a result, the historic center of Odesa, a designated World Heritage site, sustained heavy damage. The barrage of Russian missiles hit 29 historical and cultural landmarks, including museums and religious and residential buildings.

As follows from the statement made by UNESCO, [I quote] “taking place just two weeks after the strike that destroyed a historic building in Lviv, this attack is the second to date in an area protected under the World Heritage Convention in violation of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. This strike also coincided with the destruction of the Culture Centre of Folk Art and Art Education in the city of Mykolaiv, a hundred kilometers away.”

A preliminary assessment in Odesa has revealed damage to several museums inside the buffer zone of the World Heritage property, including the Odesa Archaeological Museum, the Odesa Maritime Museum and the Odesa Literature Museum. They had all been marked by UNESCO and local authorities with the Blue Shield, the distinctive emblem of the 1954 Hague Convention.

In total, nearly 50 buildings were damaged or destroyed following the attack, including 4 schools, 5 kindergartens and 2 extracurricular educational institutions.

The building of the Greek Consulate was also damaged, and this is already the second consular office in Odesa to be hit by Russian terror. Just last week, following another such attack the Chinese Consulate was damaged.

What is most terrible is that each Russian attack increases the number of fatalities among the civilian population. The last strike on Odesa on the night of 23 July left one civilian killed and 22 people wounded.

We appreciate the clear message from the UN Secretary-General, who strongly condemned the Russian Federation missile attack on Odesa. The Secretary-General’s concerns about the increasing threat to Ukrainian culture and heritage are completely justified as both are considered by the Russian aggressor to be primary targets in their attempts to eliminate the Ukrainian identity.

Ukrainian grain and other foodstuffs remain another target that Russia is trying to eliminate, not caring at all about the severe implications for global food security.

To this end the aggressor continues its attacks against port infrastructure and grain storage facilities in Ukraine’s south. On July 24, Russia launched Iranian-origin drones to attack Reni – a port city on the Danube River in the Odesa region. Three storage facilities, full of grain, were destroyed.

These aggressive actions merit a strong response otherwise Russia will be encouraged to further undermine the security situation in the Black Sea by attacking civilian vessels and laying additional mines in the waters adjacent to the Ukrainian coastline. There are grounds to believe that Russia is preparing such incidents for the purposes of blaming Ukraine and discouraging vessels from other countries from entering Ukrainian waters and using Ukrainian ports.

We reiterate that the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports, destruction of their infrastructure, obstruction of grain exports, as well as intimidation of foreign merchant vessels should be considered an attack on the freedom of navigation. These actions also aim at eliminating a market competitor, deliberately raising world food prices, and making a profit at the expense of the millions of people around the world who will suffer.

Madam President,

Odesa is not the only place where the Russian army increases the scale of destruction and casualties, in particular among children.

On July 24 Russia deliberately shelled with multiple rocket launchers the city of Kostyantynivka, Donetsk region. Three people, including two children were killed, 6 others, including 4 children were wounded. Russian forces insidiously and cruelly attacked the city in the evening, targeting a local pond where families with kids were resting.

The Ukrainian children who have been trapped in the occupied territories of Ukraine are now subject to anti-Ukrainian indoctrination and propaganda, aimed at instilling hatred towards Ukraine, its language, culture and history.

To this end, the Russian occupation administrations send children to the occupied Crimea, the Russian Federation, and Belarus for “vacation and recreation”. There is a significant increase in the number of organized trips of groups of children not only to the territorially closer Crimea and the Krasnodar region, but also to Russia’s Far East. It is planned to take at least 30,000 children away from the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine.

The main goal of such “recreation” for the Ukrainian children, as claimed, is to ensure “the socio-cultural integration of children into Russian society”, which effectively means aggressive brainwashing.

According to available information, since the beginning of the invasion, more than 3,000 Ukrainian children have been transported to Belarus from the temporarily occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions under the guise of "health rehabilitation".

Madam President,

Yesterday the State Duma of the Russian Federation adopted the law on increasing the age of conscription. While introducing the draft, chair of Duma Defence Committee Kartapolov, former high-rank general of the Russian Army, openly said that [I quote] “this law has been written for a big war, for general mobilization. And now this big war is already being felt.”

Instead of seeking peace, they continue to dream of a big war where Ukraine would not be the sole target. Threats from Putin’s ally Lukashenko about the intents of the Wagner group [I quote] “to go west…to Warsaw and Rzeszow” serve as another example of their unwillingness to proceed towards de-escalation.

Allow me to also reiterate that, unlike Russia that seeks only greater war, Ukraine has proposed the Peace Formula, the fundamental principles of which align with the resolution "Principles of the Charter of the United Nations Underlying a Comprehensive, Just and Lasting Peace in Ukraine" supported by 141 votes in the United Nations General Assembly. It includes among others food security, which the Russian Federation is so desperately trying to undermine by devastating armed attacks and sea blockades aimed against my country. The Peace Formula introduced by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in November 2022 stands today as the only pointer towards restoring a just and lasting peace and stability in the region as well as the world order based on the rule of law. We appeal to the Member States to join the initiative and to take part in the implementation of the specific points of the Formula.

The only way to avoid further deterioration and expansion of the scope of war is to keep the solidarity and unity of purpose towards the need to restore respect to the principles of the UN Charter, to ensure the military defeat of Russia in Ukraine and accountability for the crime of aggression, war crimes and crimes against humanity, as well as to deprive Russia of the capabilities to wage wars and to inflict harm on its neighbours and people around the world.

I join the demands of those previous speakers who demand this Council must, I repeat must, act.

I thank you.