Statement at the UNSC Briefing on Ukraine
Statement16 November 2022
Thank you, President. And thank you USG DiCarlo for your briefing.
I also want to open by expressing our condolences to the Polish people following the explosion in the small town of Przewodów yesterday, which killed two people. We extend our deepest sympathies to the families of those killed and injured. We also fully support the Polish investigation into the incident, and stand in solidarity with Poland.
President, Russia has launched hundreds of drone and missile strikes in recent weeks in Ukraine with the apparent aim of terrorising and demoralising the civilian population. Yesterday Russia scaled up its strikes with further attacks in Kyiv and across Ukraine.
While Russia seeks to escalate the war, millions of people across Ukraine are tonight grappling with the prospect of a dark and freezing winter, without reliable access to water, heat, electricity and other basic services.
The most vulnerable in Ukrainian society – the internally displaced, children, and the elderly – face a particularly precarious future. Women, already disproportionately impacted by the war, are once again put in unsafe and precarious situations. That this may be the intended result of recent Russian attacks on Ukraine’s cities and infrastructure is simply unconscionable.
This includes efforts to remove Zaporizhzhia from the Ukrainian grid, and attacks on other Ukrainian nuclear facilities. This utter disregard for nuclear safety carries the strong risk of a nuclear incident with terrible consequences for Ukraine, Russia and the wider region. We stress the importance of the seven pillars of nuclear safety and security, and their applicability in armed conflict, as set out by the IAEA Director General.
We condemn these heinous attacks in the strongest possible terms. Attacks intentionally directed against civilians and civilian objects are war crimes, and those responsible for such attacks must be held to account.
President, the people of Ukraine have shown remarkable resolve and determination in the face of brutal adversity. Ireland stands with them today, as always.
We are concerned by reports of heavy fighting in the east, where living conditions for the civilian population are increasingly dire and Russian forces continue to attack, particularly around the city of Bakhmut and other towns in the region.
In the south, we cautiously welcome the liberation of the city of Kherson, and note the decision of the Russian leadership to withdraw to the eastern bank of the Dnipro River.
We recall that parties to the conflict must comply with international humanitarian law. This includes the prohibitions against indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, and the obligation to take all feasible precautions in attack.
There must also be full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to civilians in need, including those who choose to remain or who are unable to leave. Those who seek to leave and those who are forced to leave must be allowed to do so safely and be allowed to leave for destinations of their own choosing.
We note that thousands of civilians were reportedly “evacuated” by the Russian army before its withdrawal from Kherson. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have been moved from Russian-occupied territories. We recall that the transfer or deportation of civilians by an occupying power from occupied territory can constitute a war crime.
Refugees, internally displaced and stateless persons are particularly at risk of exploitation, with attacks and abductions that lead to trafficking. Women and children face particular danger and must be protected from harm. Conflict-related sexual violence is never acceptable and again, may amount to war crimes.
President, the reverberations of this war continue to be felt far beyond Ukraine’s borders, with unequal and disproportionate impacts on developing countries.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative plays an important role in alleviating global food insecurity and it should continue to do so in the months ahead.
We are grateful for the efforts of the UN and Turkiye to facilitate Russia’s resumed participation in the agreement. We urge all sides to maintain engagement in good faith and continue this important Initiative.
Mr President, we have set out many of these concerns on many previous occasions at this table, and I fear we will do so again. But as my Minister for Foreign Affairs said today, Ireland will be making no apology for being on the side of international law, the UN Charter, and on the side of Ukraine and its people.. Russia should end its illegal war of aggression, stop killing innocent civilians & shelling of infrastructure with immediate effect.
It is never too late for dialogue and diplomacy. We therefore renew our call on Russia to immediately cease hostilities, withdraw its forces, and commit to resolving all outstanding issues peacefully and in line with the UN Charter.