Thank you President, and I thank ASG Jenča for his briefing.
Colleagues, Russia has called this meeting in an attempt to distort history. Once again, the Russian delegation seeks to use this Council in a desperate effort to justify Russia’s unprovoked, unnecessary and illegal invasion of Ukraine.
The Russian Permanent Representative claimed that Putin’s war was necessary to prevent conflict and alleviate suffering in the Donbas. That it was Ukraine and its partners who were responsible for undermining the Minsk agreements.
Members of this Council know better. It was Russia’s aggression that killed the Minsk process. It was Putin who declared that the Minsk agreements no longer existed. And it was Russia that systematically failed to implement its obligations, freely signed up to, under the Minsk agreements, which the Council endorsed unanimously in resolution 2202.
Two years ago, we urged Russia in this chamber to act in the interests of peace and to give the Minsk agreements a chance.
The United Kingdom consistently called on all parties to implement their commitments under the Minsk agreements in full, right up until Putin signed a decree recognising Donetsk and Luhansk as so-called independent entities. Three days later, he invaded Ukraine.
Since then, millions of people across Luhansk, Donetsk and other temporarily Russian-controlled territories have suffered terribly because of Russia’s invasion. Russia’s actions have deprived them of humanitarian assistance, despite consistent calls by the General Assembly, that Russia allow humanitarians safe access to these areas.
President, the Russian Permanent Representative made various claims about the ICJ today. The courts found that Russia had violated international law in three ways. It discriminated against Ukrainians. It failed to investigate allegations of terrorist financing. It failed to comply with the court order not to aggravate the dispute with Ukraine. And of course, Russia has failed to comply with the provisional measures of March 2022 ordering Russia to leave Ukraine.
President, the truth is this war is entirely of Russia’s choosing. Putin’s decision to launch his illegal and barbaric invasion in February 2022 shows us clearly that he was never interested in peace.
We urge Russia once again to end its illegal invasion, withdraw from Ukraine and respect the principles of the UN Charter. Until then, the UK will continue to stand with Ukraine, to defend the Charter and to call out Russian disinformation.