Statement at the UNSC Briefing on Ukraine
Statement05 April 2022
Thank you very much, Madam President.
And I would also like to thank the Secretary-General and our other briefers this morning.
I want to express a very warm welcome to President Zelenskyy being with us this morning. President Zelenskyy, your courage, your leadership, and the courage of the Ukrainian people, are an example to all of us.
Secretary-General, on 24 February, as Russia launched a large-scale invasion of its neighbour, Ukraine, you told the world that Russia’s action was wrong, that it was against the Charter, that it was unacceptable.
We agreed with you. However, you also told us that this invasion was reversible; and called on President Putin to end this war; to save innocent lives. We echoed those calls.
Sadly, 40 days later, our call has been left unanswered. Instead, over the last forty days, we have witnessed unprecedented levels of destruction and human suffering.
We are watching cities pounded by Russian artillery. We are seeing millions forced to flee their homes seeking refuge from Russian aggression.
Just minutes ago, here in this Chamber, we have seen the utterly shocking images of civilians lying dead in the streets of Bucha and elsewhere in Ukraine. Some, we know, are piled into improvised mass graves. Simply harrowing.
So many innocent lives lost on our watch, as our pleas for peace go unheeded. The attempts here today to deny Russian culpability are frankly appalling in their cynicism, and I seem them as an insult to the memory of those slaughtered civilians.
We roundly condemn the atrocities reportedly committed by the Russian armed forces in a number of occupied Ukrainian towns.
The images from Bucha, and other towns in the Kyiv region liberated by Ukrainian forces, are horrifying. We, here, cannot suspend our humanity.
Our thoughts, first and foremost, must be with the families of those killed. Their pain at the loss of their loved ones in such an unspeakable manner is almost unimaginable.
Let’s be clear: the Russian authorities are responsible for these atrocities, committed while they had effective control of the area. The Russian authorities are subject to the international law of occupation.
There can never be impunity from such crimes. Never ever. Not in Bucha, not in any other town or village. Ever.
Where crimes have been committed, they must be fully investigated and evidence preserved so that these crimes can be prosecuted by domestic and international courts, including the International Criminal Court. Ireland will continue to support efforts to ensure robust and independent investigation of all violations of international law.
We must have accountability and justice for the victims and for the survivors of this war. We at this table share that responsibility in face of such atrocity.
We call on the Russian Federation to abide by the order of the International Court of Justice and to immediately cease its military action and withdraw from the entire territory of Ukraine.
In the last forty days, we have seen a horrific humanitarian disaster unfold in Ukraine because of the Russian Federation’s unprovoked and unjustifiable further invasion of that country.
A country where, just weeks ago, citizens lived in relative peace and prosperity and which has been transformed now into one where families lack access to basic necessities, where basements have become bomb shelters, where millions – millions – have become IDPs and refugees.
The use of explosive weapons in populated areas has had a devastating impact on civilians in the midst of active hostilities.
Once again we call for the parties to the conflict to comply with international humanitarian law, including the obligation to direct attacks only against military objectives, the prohibitions against indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, and the obligation to take all feasible precautions in attack.
We have heard increasing allegations of sexual violence by Russian soldiers. You referred to this this morning, Secretary-General. We must stress that conflict-related sexual violence can constitute a war crime. The perpetrators of such crimes must be accountable. They must be held accountable; they will be held accountable. Sexual violence is another abhorrent crime of this war that cannot go unanswered.
We again reiterate the need for full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to those in need as called for today by Martin Griffiths
Secretary-General, we again echo your call for Russia to implement an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. It is the very least the aggressor can do. It is way past time.
As we know, the reverberations from this war are reaching far beyond Ukraine.
It is unacceptable that Russia’s war of choice against Ukraine is also having and will continue to have significant spillover effects across the globe: deterioration of food security, surging energy prices, increasing poverty.
The most vulnerable and impoverished in developing countries will suffer the most. We utterly reject that.
It is our collective responsibility, here, at this table, to maintain international peace and security. Nothing less.
This is why we call on the Russian Federation to stop this war, to stop its unlawful attempts to establish occupying authorities, to stop destabilising the democratic foundations of the Ukrainian State.
Such steps are yet further reprehensible violations of Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
It gets harder each time to say this, but it is never too late to do the right thing and to end this war now.
Thank you, Madam President.