In 2014, Russia brazenly seized Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. “It was a violation of international law then and remains so today,” declared Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, Acting U.S. Deputy Representative to the United Nations.
Nine years later, Russia has moved its armed forces deeper into Ukraine’s territory, said Ambassador DeLaurentis:
“Russia is using the same playbook in Ukraine as it did in 2014. It resorts to the same attempts to annex additional areas of Ukraine through sham referenda. It attempts to further subjugate the people living in those regions through ‘passportization,’ the installation of Russian occupation authorities in regional governments, the conscription of Ukrainians into Russia’s forces, and other illegitimate methods.”
Since February last year, Russia has killed tens of thousands of Ukrainian men, women, and children. It has caused the displacement of millions of people from their homes and destroyed more than half of the country’s energy grid.
In areas under Russian occupation, Russia’s forces have arrested and detained tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians, many of whom have been subject to sexual violence or torture and held incommunicado. Indeed, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights recently presented his latest findings. “He called them shocking,” said Ambassador DeLaurentis. “Among the many gruesome findings,” there were several documented cases that suggest Russia’s armed forces have used detained civilians as human shields.
“Russia’s occupation of parts of Ukraine has also resulted in danger to surrounding nuclear plants and other critical infrastructure,” noted Ambassador DeLaurentis:
“Let’s be clear: Russia’s militarization of the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, including its military presence on top of reactor buildings, jeopardizes global nuclear safety and security.”
“The effects of this war have been devastating, not only for the people of Ukraine, but also for people across the world as energy and food prices have increased,” said Ambassador DeLaurentis:
“Russia’s suspension of its participation from the Black Sea Grain Initiative was yet another selfish blow to the world’s most vulnerable. We call on all Member States to urge Russia to reverse its decision, resume negotiations, and to extend, expand and fully implement this Initiative.”
“Russia’s war against Ukraine is a clear violation of the UN Charter,” Ambassador DeLaurentis. “We once again call on Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine’s sovereign territory and end this war.”