Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a speech to the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday said Russia was guilty of ‘heinous” war crimes, while the Russian ambassador vociferously denied the allegations.
The meeting began with an angry statement from the Russian ambassador addressed to the British envoy about her decision to twice reject Russian requests, without holding a procedural vote, for a Security Council meeting to discuss events surrounding the massacre in Bucha. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “immediately called for an independent investigation to guarantee effective accountability.” Below are the texts of statements from the Ukrainian president and the Russian, British and U.S. ambassadors.
Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia Raises Point of Order
Before we adopt the agenda for this meeting, I would like to voice our protest with regard to how the British Presidency treated two our requests for a Security Council meeting to discuss heinous provocation of Ukrainian radicals in Bucha. First on Sunday, 3 April, we requested a regular session to convene at 03.00 pm on Monday. After you rejected this request, we called for an emergency meeting at 12.00 pm on 4 April. You saw it possible to grossly violate the Council’s rules of procedure and ignore our request again, having made an authoritarian unconcerted decision to have this topic discussed today. I elaborated on this outrageous situation in my yesterday’s letter addressed to the Presidency that we also circulated as an official UNSC document.
Let me ask you on what grounds do you believe you can act like this, defying all norms and rules? Aren’t you aware that in case you disagreed with our proposal, you should have called a meeting and put the question whether to hold the meeting that we requested to a procedural vote? Besides, you have the example of our UNSC Presidency, during which we did not reject the convening of any of the six meetings on Ukraine.
We therefore demand a clarification and guarantees that in future you will not contest the right of UNSC members to request Council meetings, as envisaged in Rule 2 of the Council’s rules of procedure. It goes as follows: “The President shall call a meeting of the Security Council at the request of any member of the Security Council”.
Russia Right of reply:
We do have factual evidence that we requested a meeting 24 hours well in advance. All of this has been put on record, so we are ready to share it. I do hope that what you just said means that henceforth you will not refuse to convene UNSC meetings, requested by member states.
Statement by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
Dear Mrs. President!
Dear Mr. Secretary General!
Dear members of the Security Council and other participants of the meeting!
Thank you for the opportunity.
I am sure that all the representatives of the U.N. member states will hear me today.
Yesterday I returned from our city of Bucha, recently liberated from the troops of the Russian Federation.
It is difficult to find a war crime that the occupiers have not committed there.
The Russian military searched for and purposefully killed anyone who served our state.
They executed women outside the houses when approaching and simply calling someone alive.
They killed whole families – adults and children. And they tried to burn their bodies.
I am addressing you on behalf of the people who honor the memory of the deceased everyday. Everyday, in the morning.
The memory of the killed civilians.
Who were shot in the back of the head or in the eye after being tortured. Who were shot just on the streets.
Who were thrown into the well, so that they die there in suffering.
Who were killed in apartments, houses, blown up by grenades. Who were crushed by tanks in civilian cars in the middle of the road. For fun.
Whose limbs were cut off, whose throat was cut. Who were raped and killed in front of their own children.
Their tongues were torn out only because they did not hear from them what they wanted to hear.
How is this different from what the ISIS terrorists were doing in the occupied territory?
Except that it is done by a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
It destroys the internal unity of states.
Destroys state borders.
Denies the right of more than a dozen peoples on two continents to self-determination and independent state life. Pursues a consistent policy of destroying ethnic and religious diversity.
Inflames wars and deliberately wages them in such a way as to kill as many ordinary civilians as possible. To destroy as many ordinary peaceful cities as possible. To leave in the country where it sends its troops only ruins and mass graves. You’ve seen it all.
Promotes hatred at the state level and seeks to export it to other countries through its system of propaganda and political corruption.
Provokes a global food crisis that could lead to famine in Africa and Asia, and will certainly end in large-scale political chaos in countries where food price stability is a key factor of domestic security.
So where is the security that the Security Council must guarantee? There is no security. Although there is a Security Council, as if nothing happened.
So where is the peace that the United Nations was created to guarantee?
It is obvious that the key institution of the world, which must ensure the coercion of any aggressors to peace, simply cannot work effectively.
Now the world has seen what the Russian military did in Bucha while keeping our city under occupation. But the world has yet to see what they have done in other occupied cities, in other occupied areas of our country.
Geography may be different, but cruelty is the same. Crimes are the same.
And responsibility must be inevitable.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
I would like to remind you of the first article of the first chapter of the U.N. Charter. What is the purpose of our organization? To maintain peace. And to force to peace. Now the U.N. Charter is being violated literally from the first article. And if so, what is the point of all other articles?
Today, it is as a result of Russia’s actions on the territory of my state, on the territory of Ukraine, that the most heinous war crimes of all time since the end of World War II are being committed.
Russian troops are deliberately destroying Ukrainian cities to ashes with artillery and air strikes.
They are deliberately blocking cities, creating mass starvation in them. They are deliberately shooting at columns of civilians on the roads who are trying to escape from the territory of hostilities.
They are even deliberately blowing up shelters where civilians are hiding from air strikes. They are deliberately creating conditions in the temporarily occupied territories so that as many civilians as possible are killed there.
The massacre in our city of Bucha is just one, unfortunately, of many examples of what the occupiers have been doing on our land for 41 days.
And there are many other such places that the world has yet to find out the full truth of: Mariupol, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Okhtyrka, Borodyanka and dozens of other Ukrainian communities, each of which is like Bucha.
I know, and you know very well, what the representatives of Russia will say in response to the accusations of these crimes. They have said this many times. The most illustrative was after the downing of a Malaysian Boeing over Donbas by Russian forces with Russian weapons. Or during the war in Syria.
They will blame everyone, just to justify themselves. They will say that there are different versions, and which of them is true is allegedly impossible to establish yet. They will even say that the bodies of those killed were allegedly “planted”, and all the videos are staged.
But. Now is the year 2022. There is conclusive evidence. There are satellite images. It is possible to conduct a full, transparent investigation.
That is what we are interested in.
Maximum access of journalists. Maximum cooperation with international institutions. Involvement of the International Criminal Court. Full truth, full responsibility.
I am sure that every state in the U.N. system should be interested in this. For what? In order to punish once and for all those who consider themselves privileged, consider themselves unpunished. Hence, to show all other potential war criminals in the world that they will inevitably be punished as well. If the biggest is punished, everyone will be punished.
Why did Russia come to Ukraine, tell me?
I will answer. Russia’s leadership feels like colonizers – as in ancient times. They need our wealth and our people. Russia has already deported tens of thousands of our citizens to its territory. Then there will be hundreds. It abducted more than two thousand children. Simply abducted thousands of children. And continues to do so. Russia wants to turn Ukrainians into silent slaves.
The Russian militaries are openly looting the cities and villages they have captured. This is looting of the highest scale. They steal everything from food to gold earrings they just rip out with blood.
We are dealing with a state that turns the right of veto in the U.N. Security Council into a right to kill.
Which undermines the whole architecture of global security.
Which allows evil to go unpunished and spread the world. Destroying everything that can work for peace and security.
If this continues, the finale will be that each state will rely only on the power of arms to ensure its security, not on international law, not on international institutions.
Then, the U.N. can simply be dissolved.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Are you ready for the dissolving of the U.N.? Do you think that the time of international law has passed?
If your answer is no, you need to act now, act immediately.
The power of the U.N. Charter must be restored immediately.
The U.N. system must be reformed immediately so that the right of veto is not a right to kill. So that there is a fair representation of all regions of the world in the Security Council.
The aggressor must be forced to peace immediately. Determination is needed. The chain of mass killings from Syria to Somalia, from Afghanistan to Yemen and Libya should have been stopped a long time ago to be honest.
If tyranny had ever received such a response to the war it had unleashed that it would have ceased to exist and a fair peace would have been guaranteed after it, the world would have changed for sure.
And then, perhaps, we would not have a war, a war in my country. Against our nation, the Ukrainian nation. Against people.
But the world watched and did not want to see the occupation of Crimea, or even before – the war against Georgia, or even earlier – the alienation from Moldova of the entire Transnistrian region. It also didn’t want to see how Russia was preparing the ground for other conflicts and wars near its borders.
How to stop it?
Immediately bring the Russian military and those who gave them orders to justice for war crimes in Ukraine.
Everyone who gave criminal orders and fulfilled them by killing people will face a tribunal similar to the Nuremberg trials.
I want to remind Russian diplomats that a man like von Ribbentrop has not avoided punishment after World War II.
And I also want to remind the architects of Russia’s criminal policy that punishment has reached Adolf Eichmann as well.
None of the culprits will escape. No one.
But the main thing is that today is the time to transform the system, the core of which is the United Nations. To do this, we propose to convene a global conference. And we ask to do it already in peaceful Kyiv – in order to decide.
How we will reform the world security system.
How we will really guarantee the inviolability of universally recognized borders and the integrity of states.
How we will ensure the rule of international law.
It is now clear that the goals set in San Francisco in 1945 during the creation of a global international security organization have not been achieved. And it is impossible to achieve them without reforms.
Therefore, we must do everything in our power to pass on to the next generations an effective U.N. with the ability to respond preventively to security challenges and thus guarantee peace.
Prevent aggression and force aggressors to peace. Have the determination and ability to punish if the principles of peace are violated.
There can be no more exceptions, privileges. Everyone must be equal. All participants in international relations. Regardless of economic strength, geographical area and individual ambitions.
The power of peace must become dominant. The power of justice and the power of security. As humanity has always dreamed of.
Ukraine is ready to provide a platform for one of the main offices of the updated security system.
Just as the Geneva office specializes in human rights, just as the Nairobi office specializes in the field of environmental protection, the Kyiv U-24 Office can specialize in preventive measures to maintain peace.
I want to remind you of our peaceful mission in Afghanistan. When, at our own expense, we Ukrainians evacuated more than a thousand people from this country. And it was the hottest phase. But people needed help – and Ukraine came. Just like other states.
We evacuated people of different nationalities, different faiths. Afghans, citizens of European countries, USA, Canada. We did not distinguish who needs help, whether these are our people or not. We saved everyone.
If every time there was a need everyone in the world was confident that help would come, the world would be definitely safer.
Therefore, Ukraine has the necessary moral right to propose a reform of the world security system.
We have proven that we help others not only in good times, but also in dark times.
And now we need decisions from the Security Council. For peace in Ukraine. If you do not know how to adopt this decision, you can do two things.
Remove Russia as an aggressor and a source of war from blocking decisions about its own aggression, its own war. And then do everything that can establish peace.
Or show how you can reformat and really work for peace.
Or if your current format is unalterable and there is simply no way out, then the only option would be to dissolve yourself altogether.
I am convinced that you can do without the third option.
Ukraine needs peace. We need peace. Europe needs peace. The world needs peace.
And finally, I’m asking you to watch the video. A short one.
A video of what has come to replace your power because someone alone can abuse his rights.
This is what impunity leads to.
If possible – watch this video. Because there is no opportunity for everyone to come to us and see it. So watch it.
Statement by British Ambassador Barbara Woodward
I will now make a statement in my capacity as the Representative of the United Kingdom.
President Zelenskyy, by video, Secretary-General, Colleagues,
The United Nations was created in the wake of a European war of aggression that laid waste to Europe and engulfed the world.
All of us who signed the U.N. Charter committed to ending the scourge of war, to fundamental human rights, the dignity and worth of the human person, the equal rights of nations large and small, to justice, and respect for international law.
Yet now, we are facing another war of aggression in Europe.
We have heard today, again, the devastating impact of Russia’s unilateral and illegal military action in Ukraine. Its impact on surrounding countries and the region, and on the security and prosperity of the wider world, as it seeks to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
- thousands killed
- millions displaced
- cities razed to the ground
- hospitals bombed
- citizens cut off from food, water and medicine
- blockaded sea ports and the rapid increase in wheat prices
- pressure on already stretched humanitarian resources
And now, as Russia is forced into retreat from areas around Kyiv, the brutality of the invasion is laid bare. We have all seen the horrific images from the towns of Bucha and Irpin of civilians deliberately killed in areas from which Russian forces have recently withdrawn — and the video we saw earlier underlined that horror.
These acts, and other credible incidents, must be investigated as war crimes, and the UK fully supports the work of the International Criminal Court and the work of the Ukrainian Prosecutor General and other national prosecutors.
Colleagues, as we, and so many others, have said so many times, all of this could be stopped if the Russian Federation ended this war now.
I resume my function as President of the Council.
Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
Thank you, Madam President. Let me also start by thanking UAE and Ambassador Nussebeh for her successful presidency during the month of March. Madam President, as you begin your Security Council presidency, I want to thank the United Kingdom for your leadership and for organizing this vital discussion on Ukraine, today. I also want to thank the Secretary-General for his remarks and the other briefers. And I’d like to extend a warm welcome to President Zelenskyy. I was so moved by the address he made recently to our Congress, and we are truly honored by his presence here under the circumstances that he and Ukraine face, today.
Madam President, last night, I returned from a trip to Moldova and Romania. I saw with my own eyes the refugee crisis caused by Russia’s unconscionable war. I spoke to refugees who indicated to me their desires to return to their home. And we’ve all seen the images on TV of the bombed-out buildings. But what we have not seen is that behind those destroyed buildings are destroyed lives and destroyed families. I met with women and children who had fled Ukraine, who stuffed their lives into backpacks and left the only home they had ever known. And these were sobering conversations.
One young woman I spoke to came with her six-year-old brother, who has autism and is struggling with cancer. Their single mother helped them escape to save their lives, but Russia’s war has interrupted the care her brother desperately needs.
Another woman I spoke to fled with her eight-year-old from Odesa. The father, who they had left behind, told them there was shelling right next to their apartment that very night – and they very well could have died had they not left.
A third woman I met told me that she used to love to travel – but never expected her next trip would be to flee for her life. When I asked her where she was from, she started to say, and then she stopped with tears in her eyes and said, “I’m sorry. I don’t know how to say it: whether I live in Kyiv, or whether I used to live in Kyiv.” She was realizing, in the moment, just how dramatically her life had changed because of this senseless war.
These are three stories of more than 10 million people – six million internally displaced, four million who have left Ukraine altogether. Four million people who have relied on the big-heartedness of countries like Moldova, Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and others across the region and the world to welcome and support all those leaving Ukraine in search of safety. Ukraine’s neighbors are bearing the brunt of Europe’s most significant refugee crisis since World War II. And I want these countries to know that they have a committed partner in the United States.
And that is why the United States announced recently that we are prepared to provide more than $1 billion in new funding toward humanitarian assistance for those affected by Russia’s war in Ukraine and its severe impacts around the world. And it is why we are welcoming up to 100,000 Ukrainians and others fleeing Russia’s aggression to the United States. We will continue to assist humanitarian efforts to help the people of Ukraine and all those fleeing Putin’s violence.
But as heart-wrenching as the stories are that I heard in Moldova and Romania, there are some stories we will never get to hear: those of the people we saw in the images out of Bucha. We have all seen the gruesome photos. Lifeless bodies lying in the streets, apparently summarily executed, their hands tied behind their backs. As we work to independently confirm the events depicted in these images, I would remind this Council that based on the currently available information, the United States has assessed that members of Russia’s forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine.
And even before seeing the images from Bucha, President Zelenskyy, along with others in the region, were reporting that children were being abducted – and we heard him that today. Also abducted are mayors, and doctors, religious leaders, journalists, and all who dare defy Russia’s aggression. Some of them, according to credible reports – including by the Mariupol City Council – have been taken to so-called “filtration camps,” where Russian forces are reportedly making tens of thousands of Ukrainian citizens relocate to Russia.
Reports indicate that Russian Federal Security agents are confiscating passports and IDs, taking away cellphones, and separating families from one another. I do not need to spell out what these so-called “filtration camps” are reminiscent of. It’s chilling and we cannot look away.
Every day, we see more and more how little Russia respects human rights. And that is why I announced yesterday that the United States, in coordination with Ukraine and many other U.N. Member States, will seek Russia’s suspension from the U.N. Human Rights Council.
Given the growing mountain of evidence, Russia should not have a position of authority in a body whose purpose – whose very purpose – is to promote respect for human rights. Not only is this the height of hypocrisy – it is dangerous. Russia is using its membership on the Human Rights Council as a platform for propaganda to suggest Russia has a legitimate concern for human rights. In fact, we will hear some of that propaganda here today, I know, and I will not dignify these lies with a response – only to say that every lie we hear from the Russian representative is more evidence that they do not belong on the Human Rights Council.
A hundred forty U.N. Member States voted to condemn Russia over its unprovoked war and the humanitarian crisis it has unleashed upon the people of Ukraine. Here is my message to all of you: Now is the time to match those words with action and show the world that we can work responsibly. And I share President Zelenskyy’s view that this moment requires responsible world powers and global leaders to show some backbone and stand up to Russia’s dangerous and unprovoked threat against Ukraine and the world.
The Secretary-General said that confronting this threat is the Security Council’s charge. It is. And it is also the responsibility of U.N. leaders and leaders around the world – every single Member State with a voice in the GA. No one can be a shield for Russia’s aggression. Suspending Russia from the Human Rights Council is something we, collectively, have the power to do in the General Assembly. Our votes can make real difference.
Russia’s participation on the Human Rights Council hurts the Council’s credibility. It undermines the entire U.N., and it is just plain wrong. Let us come together to do what is right – and do right by the Ukrainian people. Let us take this step to help them to start to rebuild their lives. And let us match the courage of President Zelenskyy, who we are so honored to have with us today.
President Zelenskyy, I want you to know that we stand with the people of Ukraine as you face down this brutal attack on your sovereignty, on your democracy, and on your freedom.
Statement by Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia
We would like to express our appreciation and gratitude to the delegation of the UAE for its Presidency in March.
We thank the Secretary-General, Ms.Rosemary DiCarlo and Mr.Martin Griffiths for their briefings. We also listened to President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky.
We would like to thank Martin Griffiths for his visit to Moscow during which, as we can judge, he had very useful meetings and discussions. He knows better than anyone else what efforts Russia is undertaking every single day to organize humanitarian corridors. However, Ukraine consistently avoids fulfilling its commitments even within the arrangements reached with the help of international mediators.
I am not going to overload you with figures since our Defense Ministry publishes daily reports. I will merely say that we have managed to save 123,686 people from Mariupol, who moved east, without any participation from Ukraine. In all, over 602,000 people, including more than 119,000 children have been evacuated to Russia since the start of the Special Military Operation (SMO). Contrary to the assertions of our Western partners, these people were not coerced to leave or abducted. Numerous video clips, accessible in the social media, show that they made this decision voluntarily.
I would like to take advantage of the fact that the President of Ukraine is participating virtually in our meeting and address him personally.
We will leave to your conscience all unsubstantiated sweeping accusations addressed to the Russian military. Those accusations are not backed by any evidence of eyewitnesses, of which we spoke in detail at yesterday’s press conference.
We all remember well the moment you were elected president of Ukraine in 2019. Many people pinned their hopes on you taking office, because you campaigned with the promise of establishing peace and ending the war in Donbass. The Russian-speaking people, whose rights you pledged to protect, had faith in you. It seemed that a historical injustice when, following the Maidan coup in 2014, Ukraine was put on track to become an evil “Anti-Russia” would finally be history.
However, those hopes were in vain. You began contemptuously calling the residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics “species,” echoing your predecessor in office who issued threats to the effect that the children of Donetsk and Lugansk “would rot in the basements”, and urging them to leave for Russia. And now you are up in arms against your native Russian language, having introduced a “language inquisition” in a country where Russian is the native language to at least 40 percent of the population.
Today, explosions can be heard almost all over Ukraine, not just in eastern Ukraine, where they have been heard for eight years now. And they can be heard precisely because, unfortunately, there is no other way left to bring peace to Donbas after you and your subordinates vehemently refused to comply with the Minsk Agreements and prepared to resolve the problem of Donbas by force back in March. During our special operation, we have found many secret orders that testify to this.
We are being told that there cannot be any Nazis in Ukraine. However, we know for sure that they not only are there but, unfortunately, they are running the show. How can it be otherwise if Ukraine’s national heroes are Nazi accomplices Bandera and Shukevich who bear responsibility not only for the Holocaust, but also for killing hundreds of thousands of civilians among Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, and Jews? You prefer to turn a blind eye to the Ukrainian neo-Nazis pretending that they simply do not exist.
Unfortunately, they do exist, and even more regrettably, there are many, with many young people among them. How do we know? They are not concealing it with Nazi tattoos, decorating their clothing with swastikas and other Nazi insignias, and using the Nazi salute to greet each other. They have never tried to conceal themselves on social media. They have thoroughly infiltrated Aidar, the Right Sector and Azov battalions. This would not have been such an issue had they not acted the way Nazis do and perpetrated killings the Nazi way. This was not just about Russian soldiers who were taken prisoner – they would go online to boast about the suffering inflicted on them, but also about their fellow countrymen. Your neo-Nazis and radicals act with unrivalled cruelty when dealing with civilians, use them as human shields and deploy heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems near residential buildings.
We have heard huge amounts of lies about Russian military today. We have hundreds if not thousands of video recordings of people who are ready to testify to cruelty of Ukrainian nationalists. Let me read just some of them. Those are tough stories, but you have to hear them.
Natalia Kudinova: “The city mayor was one of the first to flee, and later the Ukrainian authorities lied to us that Russia did not let people use the humanitarian corridors. The Azov nationalist battalion held women and children in basements and robbed civilians at checkpoints. A grandmother with her grandchildren said that Azov fighters did not let them out of the basement and would shoot to kill anyone taking a step towards the exit. Women and girls were stripped naked at an Azov checkpoint, with fighters taking their gold and money, including the last they had”.
Valentina Borisenkova said that the Ukrainian military chased a woman with her two children out of their single-family home and used it as a firing position to fire mortars. “She left with tears in her eyes… chased from her own house, with two children… by these boys… with blue armbands (Ukraine’s insignia).”
Marina said she was tortured in a Ukraine Security Service basement in Kramatorsk: “They tied me to a sewer pipe. When they learned that I was Russian, they started beating me, electrocuting me, raping, and threatened bringing my underage daughter to do the same with her.”
Olga Shapovalova: “We left Mariupol, Mangush, on March 25. The Ukrainian Armed Forces put their firing positions in between residential buildings and in school courtyards, hiding behind civilians. A Ukrainian tank kept driving around the drama theatre and shooting in all directions, targeting residential buildings. Tanks were parked near school numbers 69, 68 and 5. I saw this with my own eyes.”
Olga Suportkina: “Mariupol’s School No. 15. The Ukrainian Armed Forces took up positions there on February 25 and left on March 7. They fired from there. Our building was hit by gunfire. On March 8 and 9 there was heavy shelling targeting residential housing. When asked why they were doing this, the Ukrainian service personnel replied that they would stay there until they completely eradicate the Russian spirit. They started looting right away, pillaging all the shops. DPR troops helped us get out and took us to Mangush.”
There are many more heartbreaking stories about Russians and Ukrainians tortured to death with swastikas branded on their chests, about people killed by plunderers and criminals who were given arms, about peaceful population and foreigners, whose deaths Ukrainian leadership tries to blame on Russian military – contrary to all facts. I said it already and I say it again now – thinking that Russian military are capable of doing what they are accused of is vile.
On top of that, there are outright criminal theatre shows with peaceful Ukrainians killed by their own radicals in order to, in the best Goebbels traditions, blame the Russian army for their deaths. They were killed in the areas the Russian troops left following the peace talks in Istanbul, which gave hope to so many people. As it turns out now, they should not have left it. I am talking primarily about Bucha.
I am aware that you saw the dead bodies and heard the stories. However, you only saw what they wanted to show you. You can’t fail to see blatant inconsistencies in the version of the events being promoted by the Ukrainian and Western media, including the fact that there were no dead bodies in the town after the Russian troops left, as evidenced by a number of videos.
There are records where Ukrainian radicals shot those who wear white armbands, that is, civilians. A close look at the video demonstrated today would reveal that people lying on the ground wore white armbands, meaning that they were civilians. And the fact that the bodies in the video do not look like they have been lying out there in the street for three or four days (according to the sensational and scientifically absurd information provided by The New York Times, the bodies have been lying there since March 20). Only complete amateurs or our Western partners who do not want to listen to anything and have long called everything that’s black white and vice versa, could fall for this fake show.
Unfortunately, those countries don’t care in the slightest about Ukraine. For them, it is and was just a pawn in their geopolitical ploy against Russia, which they will easily sacrifice. For now, though, they will try to prolong this conflict by supplying weapons and ammunition. To reiterate, and most importantly, how did we come to the cruelty that we see from these nationalists, for example, from the Azov battalion? And you, in an interview with the U.S. media, bashfully defend them, saying that “they are what they are.”
I just want you to give it a thought and really hope that you will find a solution to this situation, because it depends only on you. We didn’t come to you for Ukrainian land. We came to bring a long-awaited peace to a bleeding Donbas. Not a truce, but a genuine lasting peace. To do so, it is necessary to root out the cruelty that I mentioned and remove that Nazi malignant tumour that is devouring Ukraine and would have eventually begun to devour Russia.
We will achieve this goal, hopefully sooner rather than later. There may be no other outcome. We avoid shelling civilian targets in order to save as many civilian lives as possible, and this is why we are not advancing as fast as many expected. We are not acting like the Americans and their allies in Iraq or Syria who wiped out entire cities. They did not care about them, while we do, because those people are our close ones. The radicals, however, have nothing to lose. They can’t care less about civilians. They are ready to take all the people of Ukraine down with them into the grave, as the provocation in Bucha clearly showed.
Mr Zelensky, don’t let the West achieve its goals. Make the right decisions for your country, because the West is prepared to fight in Ukraine to the last Ukrainian. Make this decision now. After all, you are well aware of the actual situation at the front. It may be too late after that.
Russia Right of reply:
This does not bring us closer to adjourning this meeting, but since the topic under discussion is of utmost importance, I must say a few words about the cause of this meeting. We had no opportunity to say this yesterday, because we were not allowed to convene a separate Council meeting on the issue. Unfortunately, our colleagues did their best to bust the initiative for having a meeting yesterday. It gave us another clear demonstration of what “rules-based order” looks like.
Let me once again turn to the events in Bucha that gave the reason for convening this meeting and also for drawing far-reaching conclusions that many of you already made. All divisions of Russian armed forces fully withdrew from Bucha as a good will gesture back on 30 March – the next day after a round of Russian-Ukrainian talks that had taken place in Turkey. Russian Defense Ministry published a corresponding notification on its official web resources on the same day.
Over the time that the town was controlled by Russian forces, no local resident suffered from any violent action. People moved freely around the town and had access to mobile networks. Besides, Russian military servicemen delivered and distributed 452 tons of humanitarian aid among civilians in towns of the Kiev Region. There is evidence confirming this. City exits were not blocked, residents could freely leave in the northern direction. At the same time, Ukrainian troops were shelling the southern borders of Bucha (including residential quarters) round the clock from large-caliber artillery and multiple rocket launchers.
Once the Russian troops withdrew, the mayor of Bucha Anatoliy Fedoruk in his video-address of 31 March spoke of it as of a heroic liberation of the town by Ukrainian forces. We will leave this slyness to his conscience and focus on him confirming the fact: on 31 March there were no Russian troops in Bucha. What’s more, the mayor never mentioned any locals shot in the streets with their hands tied. Can you believe a mayor could not notice bodies of, as they say, 280 dead people in the streets?
On 1 April member of Bucha’s township council Katerina Ukraintseva in a 2-minute-long video repeatedly warned her fellow-residents that Ukrainian Security Service had entered the town and was cleansing it. She asked everyone to be very cautious. An almost 8-minute-long video clip is accessible on the Internet that informs about an announced cleansing of Bucha by Ukrainian National Police on 2 April.
This video does not show any dead bodies of civilians in the streets. In addition to that, the video features Ukraine’s National Guard interviewing the local residents, none of whom mentions any corpses or mass shootings. One of Ukrainian news portals also published a heads-up about an upcoming cleansing of Bucha from Russia’s accomplices. They deleted the publication afterwards, but web users managed to save it.
So-called evidence of crimes of Russian forces in Bucha popped up only on 3 April – four days into the presence of Ukrainian armed forces there.
Once again, without any proofs and only based on “presumption of guilt”, Russian military are being inculpated for some atrocities. Of course, we could not fail to notice how rapidly footage of Ukrainian journalists was picked up by Western politicians and famous rights advocates who pretend to be impartial and unbiased.
While doing so, they purposefully ignore obvious discrepancies of the narrative promoted by Ukraine and the West. Had those bodies indeed lain in the open for several days, they would have definitely shown certain signs that are well known to forensic experts. Our Western colleagues however seem to be little worried by that. Otherwise The New York Times would not have gone as far as to say that corpses had lain in the streets since 20 March. If this had been the case, can you imagine what they would have turned into?
The footage disseminated by the Ukrainians shows that some bodies had specific insignia on their upper arms – a white stripe. Civilians wore such stripes after the arrival of Russian military.
One of the video clips that Ukrainian radicals uploaded on the web, contains a distinctly audible call to shoot all those who wear no blue stripes. This video of Bucha’s cleansing was uploaded by a leader of one of so-called territorial battalions, among which Ukrainian authorities distributed weapons without requesting any accountability.
Besides, Katerina Ukraintseva whom I already mentioned admitted in an interview to Russian platform “Meduza” that she never saw Russian troops shoot people. Later in that same interview she confirmed that Ukrainian military were to blame for all major violations. Of course, our Ukrainian and Western colleagues easily forsake those details.
President Zelensky, however, already argues that all that clearly staged footage from Bucha allegedly gives Ukrainians a moral right to an “uncivilized response”. One can only guess what that means judging by what Ukrainian radicals did in the east of the country. Evidence of their crimes is abundant and truly shocking. Unfortunately, it seems that Kiev’s experts who specialize in disinformation and staged provocations are not going to stop at that.
Russian Defense Ministry reported that according to verified data, members of 72nd Ukrainian Center for Information and Psychological Operations filmed another staged footage of civilians, allegedly killed by Russian troops in order to have it disseminated via Western media. This was done on 4 April in the town of Moshchun (23 kilometers northwest from Kiev). Ukrainian special services also conducted such operations in Sumy and some other cities.
In conclusion, let me address our Western colleagues. We understand too well what you are doing when you play this Ukrainian card and propel hysterical anti-Russian propaganda campaign by the day. That is why we think further appalling provocations (like the one in Bucha) will take place with further attempts to besmirch Russian soldiers, present them as sadists, murderers and rapists. As I already said, this is a vile thing to think. You do not care that latest technology makes it possible to make any video. Today we saw footage presented by the Ukrainian side. The Internet is already full of refutes of that. According to those disproofs, what we were shown had been filmed in another place at another time, and with other people.
One last point – to my American colleague, who declared a “crusade” to exclude Russia from the Human Rights Council. Let me underscore that this is said by a representative of a country that strongly criticized the HRC only 3 years ago because it had dared to condemn the methods and acts of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. As we know, the United States quitted the HRC. I hope that our colleagues here at the U.N. will not yield to manipulations and play up to Washington in its extremely dangerous ventures.