Statement by Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, at the UN Security Council Meeting on Ukraine

Madam President,



As I understand, today’s meeting was motivated by the desire of some delegations to discuss the topic of “impunity” in Ukraine. I think this is very timely. It is a term that fully reflects what has been happening in this country since 2014. National-radical forces, outright Russophobes and neo-Nazis then came to power as a result of an armed coup with the direct support of Western countries. Immediately afterwards, they embarked on a path of lawlessness and total disregard for basic human rights and freedoms – the right to life, freedom of speech, access to information, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience, and use of one’s native language.

The crimes on the Maidan in February 2014 are still unpunished. The perpetrators of the monstrous tragedy in Odessa on May 2, 2014, when about 50 people were burned alive and killed in the local Trade Union House, have not been found or punished. The political murders of O.A. Buzina, P.G. Sheremet and other public figures and journalists are also part of this list. Despite this, they are trying to impose a completely different narrative on us today about Russian aggression as the primary cause of all the troubles.

This ignores the fact that for more than eight years the Ukrainian army and militia of nationalist formations have been killing and murdering residents of Donbass with impunity simply because they refused to recognize the results of the criminal, bloody, anti-constitutional coup d’etat in Kyiv and decided to stand up for their rights guaranteed by the Ukrainian Constitution, including the right to freely use their native Russian language.

Recall how in 2015 then-Prime Minister Yatsenyuk said that “non-humans” lived in Donbass. Current President V.A. Zelensky did not go far from him either. In an interview in September 2021, when asked what he thought of the people living in Donbass, he said that there are people and there are “creatures,” “specimens. This is a persistent characteristic of the Ukrainian regime, both under Poroshenko and Zelensky.

They declared all those who disagreed with the results of the coup d’etat to be terrorists. For eight years, the Kiev regime conducted a “military operation” against civilians. In Ukraine, a total mobilization of the entire adult population, including women, has been carried out for years to recruit them into nationalist battalions and the AFU.

While hypocritically claiming to be committed to the Minsk agreements, the Kiev authorities have openly and with impunity sabotaged their implementation. A financial, transport and energy blockade of Donbas has been imposed. Residents of the region were cut off from social benefits, pensions, salaries, banking services, communications, education and health care. They were deprived of basic civil rights, including those guaranteed by the 1966 International Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and on Civil and Political Rights.

At one point, tired of pretending, Zelensky declared that the Minsk “Package of Measures” was needed only to maintain the sanctions imposed on Russia. His predecessor and co-author of the Minsk agreements, Poroshenko, was even more outspoken. A couple of months ago, he publicly and proudly stated that neither he nor anyone in Ukraine was going to implement these agreements he had signed. They were only needed to buy time to obtain weapons from Western countries for the war with the Russian Federation. The Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, A.M. Danilov, spoke in the same vein.

The Kiev regime owes its own impunity to its Western handlers, primarily Germany and France, and, of course, to the United States. Instead of demanding that the leadership in Kyiv implement the Minsk agreements, Berlin and Paris cynically turned a blind eye to Kyiv’s open threats to solve the “Donbas problem” by force – the so-called Plan B.

In recent years, the Kiev regime has waged an all-out, frontal attack on the Russian language. It has infringed on the rights of the Russian and Russian-speaking population of Ukraine with impunity. Scandalous “language” laws were passed – “On Education” (2017), “On Ensuring the Functioning of the Ukrainian Language as the State Language” (2019), “On Full General Secondary Education” (2020), “On the Indigenous Peoples of Ukraine” (2021). All of them were aimed at displacing the Russian language and, in fact, at its complete prohibition.

At the same time, laws encouraging the theory and practice of Nazism were passed. Kyiv ignored the timid recommendations of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities to rectify the language legislation. In turn, these multilateral structures did not find the courage (maybe they simply were not allowed) to encourage the Ukrainian authorities to fulfill their international obligations in the area of human rights.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Education has excluded the Russian language and Russian literature from the school curriculum. Books in Russian are banned and destroyed, as in Nazi Germany, and monuments to Russian writers are destroyed.

With state support, an ideology of national intolerance towards ethnic Russians is being implanted. Today, the country’s officials are no longer ashamed of their Nazi identity and openly and with impunity call for the murder of Russian people.

Here are a few examples. The ambassador of Ukraine in Kazakhstan P.J. Vrublevsky, now being in Kiev, in interview on August 22 of this year stated the following: “We try to kill them (Russians) as much as possible. The more we kill Russians now, the less our children will have to kill. That’s all.” Has anyone paid attention to this? Earlier, last spring, the mayor of Dnieper, B. A. Filatov, spoke in the same spirit: “The time for cold rage has come. Now we have a full moral right to calmly and with a completely unclouded mind to kill these beasts all over the world, indefinitely and in the largest possible quantity”. On September 13 this year, the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, A.M. Danilov, stated: “In those settlements where the AFU enters, residents will be Ukrainianized without regard to their opinions. This will affect not only Russians, but also members of other nationalities. If you have a desire to study in any other languages, Romanian, Polish, Hebrew, you are welcome, but not at the expense of our state, you can improve your education at your own expense.

Needless to say, all of these Russophobic antics have gone completely unpunished. It’s not just about Russophobia. He spoke out about the representatives of other nationalities living in Ukraine.

The apotheosis was Zelensky’s interview of August 5, 2021, in which he advised everyone who feels like a Russian to go to Russia for the good of his children and grandchildren.

It seems to me that the decisions now made by the inhabitants of a number of regions of Ukraine to hold referendums are an answer to his wishes.

Under the “guise” of combating “Russian aggression” and “separatism,” the persecution of dissidents in Ukraine is intensifying. In March of this year, 11 political parties were banned under the pretext of their “ties to Russia. Leading opposition TV channels in Russian have been shut down for a long time. Websites undesirable to the government have been blocked. Journalists are persecuted for attempting to give an alternative view to the official one. A prominent Ukrainian social activist, E.Berezhnaya, who has repeatedly spoken at the United Nations and the OSCE about the rise of neo-Nazism in Ukraine, is being held in the SBU.

We have no doubt that Ukraine has finally turned into a totalitarian Nazi state, where the norms of international humanitarian law are flouted with impunity. It is not surprising that the Ukrainian armed forces and nationalist battalions are employing terrorist tactics, using civilians as human shields.

Against this background, the position of those States that pump Ukraine with weapons and military equipment and train the Ukrainian armed forces is particularly cynical. The goal is obvious (they are not hiding it, but declaring it): to prolong hostilities as long as possible, despite the casualties and destruction, in order to deplete and weaken Russia. Such a line means the direct involvement of Western countries in the Ukrainian conflict, making them a party to it. The deliberate fomenting of this conflict by the “collective West” also goes unpunished. Indeed, they will not punish themselves.

We have no illusions that today the Russian Armed Forces and the DNR and LNR militias are confronted not only by the neo-Nazi formations of the Kiev regime, but also by the military machine of the “collective” West. In real time, using modern systems, aircraft, ships, satellites, strategic drones, NATO supplies the AFU with intelligence, suggesting that Russia should be defeated on the battlefield (as explicitly stated by EU officials) and deprived of any sovereignty as punishment. This is no longer latent racism, but the most blatant.

Against the background of massive shelling of settlements in Donbass, V.A. Zelensky rejoices over the effectiveness of Western weapons. Here is his quote: “At last it feels that the Western artillery, the weapons we received from our partners, are working very powerfully. Its accuracy is really as it needs to be,” the leader of this state formation cynically declared. At the same time, no military or strategic targets in the shelled settlements were hit. The civilians of Donbass are suffering.

Since late July of this year, the Ukrainian armed forces have been remotely mining the center of Donetsk and its suburbs with prohibited “Lepestok” anti-personnel mines. Their use grossly violates the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of Anti-Personnel Mines, ratified by Ukraine in 2005, as well as the Second Protocol to the Geneva Convention on Conventional Weapons (prohibiting mines without self-destructors).

Such atrocities became possible and remain unpunished because the United States and its allies, with the connivance of international human rights institutions, have been systematically covering up the crimes of the Kiev regime for eight years, building their policy toward Zelensky on the well-known American principle: “he is a son of a bitch, but he is our son of a bitch”.

The inconvenient truth overshadowing the bright image of Ukraine as a victim of Russian aggression is diligently glossed over and sometimes blatantly omitted. Even the Western human rights organization Amnesty International, which can hardly be suspected of being sympathetic to Russia, has been severely criticized and listed as Kremlin agents. Only because in its report it confirmed the well-known facts that Kyiv was stationing combat positions and heavy weapons at civilian sites.

The criminal shelling of the Zaporizhzhya NPP (ZNPP) by militants of the Kiev regime, which creates risks of a nuclear catastrophe, remains unpunished. This is despite the fact that since September 1 this year, members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have been permanently present at the plant and it is very easy to identify the side responsible for the shelling.

Let me remind you that the IAEA visit to the Zaporizhzhia NPP was artificially delayed, because already on June 3 this year all the details had been coordinated and the mission could have gone there without any delays. Then an unseemly situation arose when the Security Department of the UN Secretariat refused to “give its approval” to the specific route agreed upon by Russia and the Agency. Then it began to declare that the IAEA would determine all the parameters of the mission on its own. This unscrupulous undertaking delayed the visit of the Agency’s mission to ZNPP for three months.

We are seriously concerned about the fate of Russian servicemen who have fallen into the hands of Ukrainian nationalists. There is ample evidence of their ill-treatment, including summary executions, in violation of the requirements of international humanitarian law. I am sure that those who are interested in the real events in Ukraine have seen video footage of Ukrainian Nazis massacring Russian prisoners of war, who were thrown on the ground with their hands tied behind their backs and shot in the head. Have any of the countries represented here commented on this crime?

We have plenty of evidence of these and other criminal acts of the Kiev regime that have been regularly committed since 2014. The Russian law enforcement authorities, in co-operation with their colleagues from the DNR and LNR, are carefully recording and investigating the facts of the crimes. The involvement of more than 220 persons, including representatives of the senior command of the Ukrainian armed forces and commanders of military units that shelled civilians, has been established. Criminal cases are being investigated against citizens of Great Britain, Canada, the USA and the Netherlands for mercenary and criminal activities in Ukraine. I assure you that all the perpetrators, regardless of their nationality, will be brought to justice.

Once again I would like to draw your attention to the following. When the Russian and Ukrainian negotiators in Istanbul at the end of March this year practically agreed to the settlement parameters proposed by Kyiv, a couple of days later there was a tragedy in Bucha. No one doubts that it was staged. Immediately after this staged incident, our Western colleagues raised hysteria and imposed a new package of sanctions against the Russian Federation, accusing us of killing civilians. Since then, when this propaganda effect was realized, no one recalls the settlement of Bucha. Except us. I appeal once again in the presence of the Secretary General and respected ministers: please make the Ukrainian authorities take an elementary step – to publish the names of the people whose corpses were shown in the settlement of Bucha. I have been asking for this for months. No one hears it and does not want to respond.

Dear Mr. Secretary-General,

At least you use your authority, please. I think it will be useful for everyone to deal with this episode.

We have noticed the increased activity of international justice with regard to Ukraine. Certain “efforts” are being advertised to investigate crimes in Ukraine attributed to the Russian military. This is all of a contractual nature. We can see this perfectly well.

Neither the bloody coup in Kiev in 2014, nor the tragedy in Odessa on May 2, 2014, nor the shelling of peaceful towns in Donbass, nor the bombing of Luhansk by airplanes on June 2, 2014, and many other facts have not given rise to any clear reaction from the International Criminal Court (ICC). More than 3,000 reports of crimes against residents of Donbas have been sent to the ICC. There has been no reaction. Apparently, the leadership of this “judicial body” has now received a command “from above” for them to develop a storm of activity. We have no confidence in this body. For eight long years we have been waiting in vain for the fight against impunity to begin in Ukraine. We no longer expect justice from this and a number of other international institutions. The time of waiting is over.

Everything I have said confirms once again that the decision to conduct a special military operation was inevitable. We have spoken about this more than once. We have presented a huge number of facts that show how Ukraine was preparing to play the anti-Russian role, a springboard for creating and implementing threats against Russian security. I can assure you that we will not allow this to happen.