Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : More than 100,000 incidents of alleged war crimes committed during the Ukraine conflict – UK statement at the UN Security Council [October 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 13 October 2023.

Statement by UK Political Coordinator Fergus Eckersley at the UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine.

Thank you, President, we’d like to thank Mr. Ebo for his very helpful briefing.

Russia has given many excuses in this Council about what its illegal war of aggression was supposed to achieve.

Russia claims its invasion was defensive, and was born of a desire to protect rights enshrined in the UN charter.

It claimed it was about Denazification.

But now, Russia’s real plan for peace, almost 600 days into its 3 day special operation, is quite clear.

Last week, after relentless Russian strikes on civilian infrastructure, President Putin said that the Ukrainian economy and military would collapse ‘within a week’ without the assistance of other States.

This is the ‘resolution’ that Russia is striving for – the complete submission of a UN member state.

Russia claims that it is Western support that stands in its way.

But, much as we are proud to assist Ukraine, it is in fact, the courage and unity of the Ukrainian people that will ensure that Russia fails and that Ukraine will prevail.

And the reality is this. Russia’s war has already been a failure. A historically shameful one.

The Ukrainian people know too well what Russian conquest would mean for them.

There have been more than 100,000 incidents of alleged war crimes committed during the conflict, including the murder and torture of civilians, and unlawful attacks on civilian infrastructure with explosive weapons.

There has been torture, sexual and gender-based violence by Russian forces that the UN and other international bodies have documented extensively.

And the sham referenda have shown that for Russia, a people’s right to self-determination is found only at the tip of a Russian bayonet.

At the same time, the callous sacrifice of many thousands of Russian troops has made clear the value the Russian government places on its own people.

International assistance to Ukraine is not what is prolonging this war.

The fact is, Russia’s military objectives are unachievable.

Ukrainians will rightly continue to fight fiercely to defend their land for as long as it takes.

And the world is united in supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

That will not change.

International assistance to Russia however, is illegal and immoral.

That is why Russia is relying on heavily sanctioned States such as Iran and DPRK for help with procuring arms.

Iranian drones in Russian hands have killed civilians and caused vast economic damage across Ukraine.

Russia is negotiating deals for huge numbers of weapons from the DPRK to be used against Ukraine.

In turn, the DPRK seeks military technology to bolster its own illegal weapons programme, further destabilising the region.

These deals are a serious risk to international peace and security and violate multiple UN Security Council resolutions, for which Russia itself voted.

President, the Russian Ambassador said we hadn’t proposed any solutions.

We have, and I’ll do it again.

To start with, Russia should end its illegal invasion and withdraw its troops from Ukraine’s sovereign territory.

It’s not complicated.

It’s what the General Assembly and International Court of Justice have demanded.

A just and lasting peace can be achieved through the broad principles set out by President Zelenskyy based on the UN charter.

International support for his initiative is growing, and the UK is proud to support those efforts.