Statement by the Permanent Representative of Ukraine H.E. Mr. Sergiy Kyslytsya at the UN Security Council meeting on humanitarian aid (28 February 2022) Distinguished members of the Security Council

Statement by the Permanent Representative of Ukraine H.E. Mr. Sergiy Kyslytsya at the UN Security Council meeting on humanitarian aid (28 February 2022) Distinguished members of the Security Council

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Mr. Under-Secretary-General, High Commissioner,

First of all, I would like to thank the Security Council for addressing this urgent issue.

Every new day of the Russian unprovoked war against Ukraine increases the human sufferings across the entire country. I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to the Secretary-General for his powerful statement and relentless engagement with the situation in my country. The Ukrainian government welcomes the appointment of Mr. Amin Awad as Assistant Secretary-General to serve as UN Crisis Coordinator for Ukraine. As I know, he has arrived to Geneva and resumed his duties. His mission will be extremely difficult against the backdrop of the ongoing Russian military activities, that are often equaled to war crimes. At the same time, millions of Ukrainians will require his attention – in particular, our children, women, elderly, and other vulnerable citizens. So, I wish him and his team strength and mercy in their work.

Distinguished members, let us be clear: this is not only a security crisis. This is a humanitarian crisis. This war of choice is not only a violation of international code. It violates the conscience of the world. Security assistance is needed, but it alone is not enough. We call on the international organizations to provide us with humanitarian assistance. We call on you to register all cases in which international law and international humanitarian law are violated. Almost all speakers and briefers today were unanimous in their assessments: the situation in Ukraine could deteriorate sharply. Let me provide you with the latest available information from the Government of Ukraine.

Today is the fifth day of a full-scale unprovoked and unjustified war launched by Russia against Ukraine. Launched by Russia against the very heart of Europe. Launched by Russia against the idea and ideals of democracy. It is the most horrible and large-scale invasion since World War II. In the morning I told the General Assembly about the shelling of the residential city of Kharkiv by Russian Grads, killing and wounding dozens of innocent civilians.

Now the residents of Kyiv, the home to three million innocent people, and its suburbs, are sitting within Russian crosshairs right now. According to Ukrainian Health Minister Viktor Liashko, as of today, over 352 people including 16 children were killed and about 2,040 people, including 45 children wounded. Russia keeps attacking kindergartens and orphanages. Russia is attacking hospitals. Russia is attacking mobile medical aid brigades with shellfire and sabotage groups. Russia fired on ambulance crews near Zaporizhzhia and Kyiv.

Let me say that again, so that you can see this image in your mind: Russia is attacking hospitals, mobile aid brigades, and ambulances. This is not the action of a state with a legitimate security concern. This is the action of a state determined to kill civilians. There is no debate: these are war crimes. These attacks violate the Rome Statute. And these attacks are far from over. That is why I say: This is a humanitarian crisis.

As we sit here, Russian missiles are aimed at destroying critical infrastructure, which could lead to a serious environmental disaster and even radioactive contamination. International humanitarian law is crystal clear: none of these facilities are legitimate military targets. The civilian population of Ukraine is the first to suffer from such attacks – and if we do not act today, it will be far from the last. We welcome the statement issued today by the ICC Prosecutor, Karim A.A. Khan QC, on the Situation in Ukraine.

The statement is about that “[he has] decided to proceed with opening an investigation”. In his statement the ICC Prosecutor says that “[he has] reviewed the Office’s conclusions arising from the preliminary examination of the situation in Ukraine, and [has] confirmed that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with opening an investigation. In particular, [he is] satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to believe that both alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Ukraine in relation to the events already assessed during the preliminary examination by the Office.

Given the expansion of the conflict in recent days, it is [his] intention that this investigation will also encompass any new alleged crimes falling within the jurisdiction of [his] Office that are committed by any Party to the conflict on any part of the territory of Ukraine… …[The Prosecutor] will also be asking for the support of all State Parties and the international community as a whole, as [his] Office says about its investigation. [He] will be calling for additional budgetary support for voluntary contributions to support all his in this situations and for the loan of gratis personnel. The importance and urgency of the [Prosecutor’s mission] is too serious to be held hostage to lack of means”. End of quote.

To my colleagues from around the world, this affects you too. Russian military aggression kills not only Ukrainians but threatens thousands of foreigners who are staying in Ukraine. The Ukrainian government is doing its best to facilitate their passage at the state border, even as that border has become overwhelmed with the massive influx of people fleeing Russia’s armed aggression. Temporary volunteer assistance points have been set up at the border to provide foreign students with food and cater for other humanitarian needs. Please, do not be misled by Russian disinformation. There is no discrimination based on race or nationality, and if there are cases, they should be investigated. Journalists working in the free press also are under fire, during live reports from the scenes of action and hot spots. A journalist and a photographer working for the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet were injured when their car was targeted in Okhtyrka district of Sumy Region. Ukrainian children are crossing the EU/Ukraine border without their parents and without powers of attorney from their parents.

In this regard, we request decision-makers in EU countries to provide clarifications and instructions to EU institutions in order to secure free movement of and assistance to such underaged persons and their guardians.

According to the Ministry of Education of Ukraine, more than 350,000 school children have no access to education. Schools are closed due to severe insecurity in civil areas across the country. The numbers of refugees are being assessed. The numbers could be hundreds of thousands of people who have been forced to flee across international borders into neighboring European countries, mostly Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. It can take several days of waiting to cross the border, and we are grateful that more checkpoints on the border with Poland have been opened, including two additional pedestrian crossings for all who want to get from Ukraine to the neighboring safe countries.

Kyiv local authorities have set up a coordinating humanitarian headquarters to provide food and basic necessities to those in need. An electronic platform will be launched tomorrow On this platform, businesses will be able to provide information about their available resources and Kyiv residents will be able to announce their needs. All of this information will be systematized for effective communication and distribution of essentials goods. Olha Stefanishyna, the vice-prime-minister of Ukraine, who has been appointed as a government coordinator for humanitarian assistance is working 24/7. There are many urgent things to do: - to agree on humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians from the most endangered territories. However, I need to warn you not to be misled by Russian assurances of security. Russian words often if not always do not match their deeds.

For instance, just recently we heard Russian politicians and diplomats, even here in this Chamber, who said that there would be no invasion, no attacks on Ukraine. Hence, these corridors can be easy targets to the Russian Army; - to help people at the border crossing points in western regions of Ukraine, who are waiting for crossing for at least 1-2 days. - to provide assistance to IDPs in western regions of Ukraine, including housing, schooling, jobs. - to provide humanitarian aid to civilians who remained home and now are cut off from markets, including in the occupied territories.

Distinguished members of the Security Council, This is not only a security crisis. This is a humanitarian crisis as I said before. The Russian war against Ukraine has brought the entire region to the brink of humanitarian catastrophe. Let me therefore repeat our call to the international organizations to provide all possible humanitarian assistance and to register all cases in which international law and international humanitarian law are violated. You have all heard the lies from the Russian side. Lies in Moscow, lies in the General Assembly, and lies in the Security Council.

Distinguished members of the Security Council and friends around the world: Do not listen to Russian lies. Listen to Ukraine’s cries. Listen to the cries of the men, women, and children who have lived in peace, who deserve to remain in peace, and who will forever support your own nations’ efforts for peace across Europe and around the world. Russia has tried and failed to defend its lies – but the people of Ukraine, with the help of the world, will never fail to defend our land. Do not listen to Russia’s lies. Listen to Ukrainian cries. We need your help. The Russian Ambassador laments that a dozen of Russian spies won’t be able anymore to enjoy all the benefits of American life while doing things incompatible with their status used as a cover up. The Russian Ambassador should instead work hard to report to his superiors that only his cronies, a bunch of cronies, buy his narrative here in the United Nations. I want to conclude with saying that I am looking forward to midnight, even though the midnight is the most dangerous time right now because that’s when most of the attacks take place. Yet I am looking forward to midnight when this abomination – occupation of the seat of the President of the Council by Russia will be over. I thank you.