Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at the UNSC Briefing on Ukraine - Nonproliferation
Statement11 March 2022
Thank you very much, Mr President.
I would like to thank High Representative Nakamitsu, and Under Secretary-General DiCarlo for their sober briefings this morning.
Ireland deeply regrets the decision of the Russian Federation to call for today’s meeting. It has done so for no other reason than to advance baseless claims against Ukraine, and the United States.
Ireland has a long-standing and clear policy on biological, chemical and other weapons of mass destruction.
It is intolerable that Russia, as part of its attempts to excuse its unjustifiable and unlawful aggression against Ukraine, is making unsubstantiated and unfounded claims against Ukraine regarding the alleged development and possible use of biological and chemical weapons.
The prohibitions on biological and chemical weapons must not be undermined.
Given the reckless disregard for nuclear safety and security shown by Russian forces since the start of the invasion, there are fears for CBRN safety arising from the invasion. This in no way, however, supports the claims of weapons of mass destruction development in Ukraine.
We are familiar with this approach by the Russian Federation. It forms part of a long-standing pattern by the Russian Federation to use disinformation, in multiple multilateral fora, to distract, deny, and cover-up its own transgressions and aggressions.
Ireland considers it unacceptable to levy such accusations against Ukraine, a State Party in good standing to the Treaty on the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).
These instruments are doing their vital job of ensuring non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and no evidence has been advanced to support such allegations in these fora. Earlier this week, 48 states, including Ireland, challenged these unsubstantiated claims by Russia in the OPCW.
I urge the Russian Federation to cease its campaign of disinformation and not to use this Council as a platform to spread disinformation. Such harmful actions demean this body, and its role in maintaining international peace and security.
The Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine has created a humanitarian catastrophe. In another effort to mislead and misinform, we have been told by the Russian Federation that the humanitarian crisis we are seeing in Ukraine is not a result of its actions. However, as UN briefers confirmed again today, it is clear that the Russian offensive is causing the suffering of millions, resulting in a rapidly rising toll of internally displaced persons and refugees in need of humanitarian assistance. Millions of people in Ukraine are struggling with the humanitarian consequences of this senseless aggression.
Whatever is agreed, or not agreed, on humanitarian safe passage – civilians and civilian infrastructure must be protected. Compliance with international humanitarian law is not optional. It is an obligation.
Full, safe and unhindered access to provide humanitarian assistance is urgently needed.
One more time, Ireland urges the Russian Federation to immediately cease hostilities, unconditionally withdraw from the entire territory of Ukraine, and refrain from further threat or use of force of any kind against Ukraine.
It is beyond time to choose dialogue and diplomacy as the pathway to resolve this conflict.
Thank you, Mr President.