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Statement at the UNSC Briefing on Ukraine

Thank you, President. Thanks also to USG DiCarlo for your briefing and President Zelenskyy for your statement.

The President of Ukraine used the phrase “sham referenda”. Ireland fully agrees. We condemn these sham referenda being conducted in occupied Ukrainian territory by Russia or its proxies.  No one who believes in, and is fully committed to, the principles enshrined in the UN Charter of sovereignty and territorial integrity of States could do otherwise.


Why is this? Because these referenda – these sham referenda – are both illegal and illegitimate. They are illegal because they violate the UN Charter and Russia’s obligations under international law, including the law of occupation.


 They also ignore Ukraine’s Constitution, which provides a legal basis for any referenda that would affect the territorial boundaries of Ukraine.


And they are illegitimate because they do not reflect the popular or freely expressed will of the Ukrainian people. 


As we have previously heard in this Chamber, over 1 million people from those occupied territories have been moved to Russia. This is a result of Russia’s military invasion, including by forced deportation. In fact, more than 7 million people are internally displaced within Ukraine because of this war.


Mr President,


These referenda will never deter us from supporting the people of Ukraine. Might does not make right.  Nor will they have any legal or political effect on the status of Zaporzhizhia Nuclear Power Plant or other Ukrainian nuclear facilities. 


These referenda are a cynical ploy to not only further undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, but also to try and reset an unjustified war.


This is a blatant land grab to redefine areas of Ukraine as part of Russia; a blatant land grab.


Mr President,


Ukraine has had a hard-won independence. It has had a hard-won path to establishing itself as a sovereign democracy free from foreign interference.


 It is sticking bravely to this choice, no matter what has been thrown at it. In particular, Ireland condemns Russia’s nuclear threats, and all nuclear threats, whether explicit or implicit regardless of circumstance.


Ireland once again calls on Russia to end its aggression immediately, to comply with its obligations under international law, and withdraw all forces unconditionally from the sovereign territory of Ukraine.


The people of Ukraine, as much as the people elsewhere in the world, who are suffering the devastating impact of this war, deserve no less.


Thank you, Mr President.


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