Threats to international peace and security - Security Council, 9127th Meeting

Preview Language:   Six Official
08-Sep-2022 02:37:51
While millions of Ukrainian civilians suffer, Russian Federation’s delegate tells Security Council ‘destructive process in Ukraine far from over’.

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Several Member States Question Merits for Convening Meeting on Weapons Transfers

A large-scale influx of weapons to conflict-affected zones raises many concerns, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu told the Security Council today, as delegates convened for the third time in three days to discuss the situation in Ukraine, with many questioning the reasoning for the debate and what it could achieve for the millions of civilians suffering under near constant shelling.

“These concerns should be taken with due regard,” she said as a matter of general statement on the topic of weapons transfers, encouraging States to make use of the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms to enhance transparency.

She said it is a matter of public record that, since the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine, on 24 February, Ukraine has received for its defence force transfers of weapons systems and ammunition from several States. Information about the transfers of such materiel has been widely publicized by the Governments involved.

There have also been widespread and independently verified reports of the transfer of major conventional weapon systems to local armed groups in Ukraine, she explained.

Under international humanitarian law, she said combatants must not direct attacks against civilians or civilian infrastructure and take all feasible precautions in the conduct of military operations to avoid, or at least minimize, incidental loss of civilian life. “The time to end this suffering is now,” she said.

Dragana Trifković, Director of the Center for Geostrategic Studies, then compared the war in Ukraine to the one waged on the territory of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, noting that, in both cases, there are examples of both direct interference in the conflict — where Western countries send weapons to the Ukrainian side — and the use of third countries to supply weapons.

In the ensuing dialogue, Council members offered differing views on the merits of convening the meeting, with Ghana’s representative expressing concern that recent meetings have not supported diplomatic actions required to help end hostilities. Albania’s delegate took it a step further to suggest the meeting should have been held under a theme of support for a country whose neighbour aims to “wipe it from the map”. The representative of the United Arab Emirates, however, said that, “while the past cannot be changed, the Council can still have an impact on the present and future trajectory of this conflict”, which is why this topic deserves members’ attention, with the technical expertise required to fully discuss it.

The Russian Federation’s delegate — whose country called the meeting — said the most modest assessments show that the United States and its allies spent $20 billion to support Ukraine in 2022. European countries are violating their “Common Position” rules, which ban the licensing of arms exports if they create a violation of international humanitarian law.

Meanwhile, Ukrainians are being told that they will “become victorious” over the Russian Federation. “We are far from the end of this destructive process”, he clarified, stressing that Western weaponry is not playing a decisive role on the battlefield.

In turn, the United States’ representative accused the Russian Federation of having the “gall” to accuse others of refusing to stand aside while it seeks to destroy another Member State, in violation of international law. His country is proud to provide vital security assistance to Ukraine in defence of its sovereignty. “We are not hiding this support,” he said, stressing that Ukrainians have every right to defend themselves. “We will not stop our support to Ukraine just because Russia is frustrated that its attempt at regime change has not gone to plan.”

The representative of France, Council President for September, spoke in his national capacity to stress that his country made a determined choice to help Ukraine defend its sovereignty. It was his country’s duty, and the purview of the Council, to defend values and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. France is also working with the European Union where a collective decision was made to fund weapons, so Ukraine can withstand the aggression.

To Kenya’s representative, the question of how to collectively build a peaceful world order underpins today’s discussions. The Council — and the international community — must fully face up to the strategic thinking that led to this war, and act to minimize the risk of escalation, while establishing channels of dialogue that will lead to a stable global order. Laying out the acute effects of the war in Africa, he described dashed aspirations for development, united action against climate change and security.

Rounding out the meeting, Ukraine’s delegate said that, by the Russian Federation launching its aggression against Ukraine in 2014 and invading it in 2022, Moscow has violated nearly all international documents, including the Helsinki Final Act. From the permanent seat of the Soviet Union, it has paralysed the Council from ensuring peace and security in Ukraine. “We are defending ourselves, Europe, the world and the UN Charter,” he said. “The evil of Putin — as that of Hitler before him — requires a global response,” he insisted. Ukraine and its allies are doing their best to ensure it.

Also speaking today were representatives of Gabon, United Kingdom, Mexico, India, Brazil, Ireland, Norway and China.

The Council also observed a moment of silence in tribute to Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, who died today.

The meeting began at 3:05 p.m. and ended at 5:05 p.m.

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