“Russian missiles are shelling Ukrainian cities day and night. Kyiv is surrounded. The fighting is going on throughout Ukraine – in the air, on land and at sea. They must be stopped immediately, ”- with these words, he began his performance UN Secretary General António Guterres, addressing the participants of the 11th emergency special session of the UN General Assembly on Ukraine.
Chairman of the General Assembly Abdullah Shahid stressed that the military operation launched by Russia five days ago violates the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. He cited the UN Charter, which emphasizes the need to resolve conflicts peacefully. “The bloodshed must be stopped,” Shahid urged.
During the meeting, which began with a moment of silence in memory of the dead, 101 speakers will take the floor, after which delegates will be asked to vote on a draft resolution on Ukraine.
The special session, we recall, is being held on the basis of yesterday’s vote of the Security Council and the resolution “Unity for Peace” adopted in 1950. This procedure allows you to bypass the veto of any of the permanent members of the Security Council.
“In light of the ongoing attack, three million residents of Kyiv are forced to take refuge in their homes or in makeshift bomb shelters and the city’s metro. The Ukrainian government has distributed a significant amount of weapons to the population so that people can participate in the defense of the country,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in his speech. “Despite the fact that Russia is reportedly shelling mainly Ukrainian military installations, we have reliable data that residential buildings, important civilian infrastructure and other non-military targets have been damaged,” he added. “This growing violence, which leads to the death of civilians, including children, is completely unacceptable. Everything has a limit!”
He called for stopping the bloodshed, returning soldiers to the barracks, starting a dialogue, as well as protecting the civilian population, respecting human rights and respecting the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.
“Yesterday, Russia put its nuclear arsenals on high alert, a development that is horrifying. Even the idea of a nuclear conflict is unacceptable. Nothing can justify the use of nuclear weapons,” said the head of the UN.
António Guterres warned that the Ukrainian events could lead to the most serious humanitarian and migration crisis in Europe in decades. He thanked the countries that opened their doors to Ukrainians and called on all states to show solidarity towards everyone who needs help, regardless of their race, religion or ethnic origin. He also noted that the countries neighboring Ukraine, hosting refugees, need support today.
UN staff, as Guterres noted, provide assistance to residents of Ukraine on both sides of the line of contact. “We are determined to stay and help everyone affected by this deadly conflict,” Guterres said. The UN allocated $20 million for their needs from the Emergency Response Fund, the Organization has a Coordinator for the Ukrainian Crisis, and on Tuesday a campaign to raise funds to help Ukrainians will be launched. The UN Secretary General called on all parties to the conflict to fulfill their obligations and ensure free movement for humanitarian workers.
Ukrainian refugees on the Polish border
“This is all extremely important, but does not solve the main problem,” he added. We need peace. An attack on Ukraine undermines international law and the entire multilateral system based on the UN Charter. It is horrific to think of some of the possible consequences if the conflict escalates.” In this context, he called on every member of the United Nations to comply with the UN Charter and expressed the hope that negotiations between Ukraine and Russia would make it possible to find a way to a diplomatic solution. “The people of Ukraine want and strive for peace. I think the Russian people, too,” said António Guterres in conclusion.
Ukraine: Belarus helps Russia
“For the first time since the birth of the United Nations, a full-scale war has been unleashed in the center of Europe,” said Serhiy Kyslytsya, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN. – Everyone present in this hall and every person in the world knows that Russia and only Russia started this invasion, in which Belarus is now helping it. This war was not provoked. She was chosen by a person who is now sitting in a bunker,” said Sergei Kislitsa.
The Ambassador of Ukraine read from the rostrum of the General Assembly in Russian the last correspondence of a Russian soldier killed in Ukraine with his mother and called on the Russian military to leave the territory of his country.
At the same time, the Ukrainian diplomat questioned the legitimacy of Russia as the legal successor of the Soviet Union. “Raise your hand to confirm that Russia has been admitted to the UN… I don’t see a single hand raised. Has anyone voted for Russia’s membership? Think about it when you listen to the Russian delegate,” said the representative of Ukraine.
One of the most difficult situations in Kyiv, where residents of the city have been hiding in bomb shelters and the subway for the 5th day.
Russia: We exercise the right to self-defense
“In the course of a special military operation, Russia is exercising the right to self-defense against a regime that sought to restore access to nuclear weapons,” Vasily Nebenzya, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, said from the rostrum of the General Assembly. He said that the President of Ukraine, to the applause of the audience, said this during the Munich Conference. At the same time, Ukraine, according to the Russian diplomat, seeks to join NATO and “has territorial claims against Russia.” “So, by using Article 51 of the UN Charter, Russia not only protects itself from the nationalist threat, but restores the operation of the goals and principles of the UN Charter on the territory of Donbass and Ukraine, ensures the fulfillment of the main task of the world organization – preventing a new world war,” Nebenzya added.
EU calls on Russia and Belarus to fulfill their obligations
The head of the EU delegation, Olof Skoog, began his speech by expressing the full solidarity of the European Union with the people of Ukraine, who “courageously fight against unprovoked and unjustified military aggression by Russia.”
“We condemn in the strongest terms the invasion of Ukraine by the armed forces of the Russian Federation in violation of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” he said. – We also condemn the involvement of Belarus in the aggression against Ukraine. We call on both Russia and Belarus to comply with their international obligations.” Russia bears full responsibility for this aggression and the resulting loss of life and destruction, continued Olof Skoog. The European Union demands that Russia immediately and unconditionally cease hostilities, withdraw all forces and military equipment from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.
“The people of Ukraine and the whole world are now looking at us and counting on us,” the European diplomat addressed the participants of the session of the UN General Assembly. “He will judge us by the decision we make today. It is our duty to do everything possible to protect the UN Charter and the international order. We hope that the Assembly will massively support the resolution submitted by Ukraine.”
Poland accepts refugees from Ukraine
The representative of Poland said that the world was facing one of the biggest humanitarian crises in Europe since the Second World War. According to him, about 300,000 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Poland in recent days.
“We keep our borders open, our diplomatic missions help those who seek asylum in Poland. Citizens of all countries affected by Russian aggression or whose lives are in danger can seek asylum in my country. Only in the first half of today, we received people of 125 nationalities, including more than 100 people with Russian passports,” the Polish diplomat emphasized. He noted that there are many students among the refugees, including foreign ones. They were offered to continue their studies in Poland.
Today, UNHCR reported that more than 500,000 people have now fled from Ukraine to neighboring countries: Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.