Statement at the UNSC Briefing on Ukraine
Statement28 June 2022
Thank you very much, Mr President.
And I would like to thank the Under Secretary General for her briefing. A briefing which highlights, yet again, the brutality of this unlawful war.
For four months, Mr President, we have called for an end to the unjustified and unjustifiable war being waged against Ukraine.
Yet, as each day passes, reports of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by Russia grow. Civilians in Ukraine continue to pay the highest price.
On Monday, Russian forces attacked a shopping mall in Kremenchuk full of civilians going about their ordinary lives.
This appears to have been a clear attack against civilians and civilian infrastructure in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.
The consequence of this attack, reported by credible media sources, is civilians killed.
We have heard today how civilians continue to bear the brunt of Russia’s unconscionable war.
All allegations of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law must be investigated and those responsible held to account.
Parties to conflict must comply with international humanitarian law, including the obligation to distinguish between civilians and combatants and to attack only military objectives; the prohibitions against indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks; and the obligation to take all feasible precautions in attack.
Compliance is not optional.
Yesterday’s Russian strike on Kremenchuk is not the first on Ukraine’s towns and cities, we know.
We deplore Russia’s use of explosive weapons, including prohibited cluster munitions, in populated areas without regard for civilians.
The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has recorded over 10,000 civilian casualties, most of which have been caused by the use of explosive weapons. We condemn indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks in all circumstances.
We are committed to ensuring accountability for the atrocious crimes taking place in Ukraine, and recognise the important role of the ongoing investigation of the International Criminal Court in helping to pursue this.
We must not accept impunity for those inflicting such horrors - not in Ukraine, not anywhere in the world.
We once again call on the Russian Federation to comply with its obligations under international law.
There must be full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access for humanitarian personnel to reach civilians, including those who choose to remain in Ukraine and those who are unable to depart, including the elderly – they are not combatants and must be protected in accordance with international humanitarian law.
The Russian Federation must allow those seeking to leave their towns and cities in Ukraine to do so safely, to destinations of their own choosing.
Russia can end its aggression if it chooses, but even while it chooses to execute an illegal war, it still has obligations under international law and it must comply with those obligations.
We call again on the Russian Federation to end its war and to withdraw all forces unconditionally from the entirety of the sovereign territory of Ukraine.