Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : President Putin has shown he is not serious about any peace in Ukraine that respects international law – UK statement at the Security Council [August 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 17 August 2023.

Statement by Deputy Political Coordinator Tom Phipps at the UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine.

Let me begin by thanking High Representative Nakamitsu for her briefing today.

President, last week, Russian missiles targeted hotels in Pokrovsk and Zaporizhzhia. As people nearby rushed to rescue the wounded from the rubble, further missiles hit both locations – a ‘double tap’ strike timed deliberately to kill first responders.

On Sunday, a baby just 22 days old, her 12-year-old brother and their parents were among seven people killed by Russian shells in Kherson.

On Tuesday, a Russian missile ripped through a playground in Lviv.

This is how Russia’s leaders conduct their war of choice. And it is why we are proud to support Ukraine as it defends itself in line with international law and the UN charter.

Colleagues, the UK wants peace. Ukraine wants peace, indeed the whole world wants peace.

But President Putin has shown he is not serious about any peace that respects international law.

While Ukraine and international partners from all over the globe discussed last week the importance of a just and sustainable peace, underpinned by the UN charter, Russia continued to drop bombs on Ukrainian ports and grain silos, targeting the world’s food supply.

Russia now claims it is under assault from the West, but it was President Putin who chose to invade Ukraine last February, despite calls from within this Council to withdraw Russian troops from Ukraine’s borders.

It was Putin who ordered hundreds of thousands of Russian troops to their deaths on the soil of another country, to which they should never have been sent. It is his choices which have diminished Russia’s standing in the world and destroyed the trust of Russia’s neighbours. It is President Putin who is hurting Russia.

President, Russian authorities estimate up to a million people left the country in 2022. Many have spoken of their concerns about the war and its impact, others have fled to avoid being conscripted to fight.

Those who have stayed face dire consequences for speaking out.

And it is telling that our Russian colleagues can only rely on fringe journalists to defend the war in this Chamber.

Let me be clear. An unstable Russia is in none of our interests and we have the highest respect for the Russian people.

President Putin can end the suffering of the Ukrainian people, and of Russia’s own soldiers, tomorrow by withdrawing all Russian forces from within Ukraine’s internationally recognised territory.

But, until then, we will continue to help Ukraine defend itself.