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Statement at the UNSC Briefing on Ukraine

Thank you, Mr President, and also thank you to USG DiCarlo and ASG Brands Kehris for their very concerning briefings and also to Oleksandra Drik for her testimony.


Ireland continues to be disturbed by the continuing shelling of areas containing civilians and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.  The first six months of war have already seen over 12 million Ukrainians forced from their homes creating a displacement crisis of enormous proportions.


These are not just static numbers stemming from the first weeks of the war.  The number of internally displaced persons rose by 330,000 just this past month.


Nor are these merely statistics, we are talking about children, the elderly, the infirm, those with disabilities – vulnerable people caught up in a situation beyond their control, seeking shelter and safety, just as we would do.



This makes destruction of the infrastructure they depend on all the more abhorrent. On 24 August, a missile attack near a train station in Chaplyne killed at least 25 people including children leading to yet more lives lost in an illegal war. An illegal war.


Members of this Council have recalled many times in the past six months that parties to conflict must comply with international humanitarian law, including the obligation to distinguish between civilians and combatants.  We condemn indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks. There are no excuses and there are no exceptions.


Mr President,


This is why we once again call on Russia to comply with all its obligations.  There must be full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to civilians, including those who choose to remain in Ukraine or who are unable to leave – they are not combatants and they must be protected.


Those who seek to leave or those who are forced to leave must be allowed to do so safely and be allowed to leave for destinations of their own choosing. I repeat: of their own choosing




We are appalled by the evidence of horrific violations occurring in Ukraine. The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission and the OSCE have documented cases of enforced deportations, arbitrary detentions, abductions, torture and summary executions.


 There is evidence of enforced deportations of Ukrainians, including of children, to areas of Ukraine occupied by Russia or to the Russian Federation, and the worrying use of so-called “filtration centres” as part of this process. These violations of international humanitarian and human rights law may constitute international crimes, including war crimes. It is critical that access is granted to the United Nations to all these filtration centres.


We know that displacement and conflict increases the scourge of sexual and gender-based violence. Indeed, this Council has previously heard horrendous reports of sexual violence perpetrated by Russian soldiers against women and girls, men and boys.


But let us be clear: rape is not a given in war, but rather a deliberate act that may constitute a war crime and has lasting impacts on victims and survivors and their communities. There must be no impunity for such crimes.  


 Mr President,



We are also very concerned by reports of the mistreatment of prisoners of war. All prisoners of war must be treated humanely in all circumstances in accordance with the third Geneva Convention. 


Allegations or incidents of mistreatment must be properly investigated and perpetrators must be held accountable for violations. The International Committee of the Red Cross must be given access to all PoWs.


 Finally Mr President,


We are deeply disturbed by the disrespect for international humanitarian law in this war and we are resolved to ensuring accountability for any international crimes taking place in Ukraine.  We cannot and will not accept impunity for such crimes wherever they occur.


Once again, Mr President, we call on Russia to end its aggression, comply with its obligations under international law and withdraw unconditionally from the entirety of the territory of Ukraine.


Thank you.

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