Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

London, 18 May 2023

Statement by Ambassador Barbara Woodward at the UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine.

Thank you, President and I also thank Mr Ebo for his briefing.

449 days into the Russian Federation’s illegal and full-scale war. Russia continues to attack Ukrainian cities, hospitals and schools – its civilian infrastructure – killing and injuring innocent families in their homes or forcing them to flee. Eight million people are now displaced as a result of Russia’s attacks. Last night, for the ninth time this month, Russia rained down another barrage of missiles on Ukrainian cities with a blatant disregard for human life. Russia is deploying more and more powerful weapons.

Russia sources weapons for Putin’s illegal war from states such as Iran and DPRK in blatant violation of relevant Security Council resolutions. The UK calls on other states not to provide Russia with military assistance.

President, we have repeatedly urged Russia to end the war, withdraw and respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, to cease attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, and withdraw its troops from Ukraine. Ukraine did not want or provoke this war.

The Ukrainian people want peace, but they face a choice between taking up arms in self-defence or annihilation. They have done so in accordance with the UN Charter. We, therefore, support Ukraine to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity in line with the UN Charter. We share Ukraine’s goal of securing peace in line with the UN Charter.

As my Prime Minister has made clear, we will continue to respond to Ukraine’s requests for the means to defend itself against Russian aggression.

Last week we announced the provision of storm shadow missiles to Ukraine.

We’ve also provided a range of air defence systems, including AMRAAM anti-aircraft missiles. These defensive weapons can defeat Russian cruise missiles to help Ukraine defend its skies and its people from Russia’s indiscriminate attacks.

The Russian delegate also mentioned use of depleted uranium. The British army has used depleted uranium in its armour-piercing shells for decades. It is a standard component and has nothing to do with nuclear weapons or capabilities. Russia knows this, but is deliberately trying to disinform. So I want to be in no doubt that we provide all our military support to Ukraine in accordance with international law and with robust measures in place to prevent its illicit transfer.

President, the cost of this war is felt around the world. Its impact on food and commodity prices is severe. We welcome the continuation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and call on Russia not to hold up the movement of ships under the deal as a pressure tactic.

As UN Member States, we want to focus on other priorities that the world desperately needs us to work together on, such as delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals. Instead, Russia’s war has made those goals harder to reach.

In conclusion, Madam President, I listened carefully to the Russian delegation. They are trying to persuade the world not to provide defensive support to Ukraine. The reason for this is blindingly obvious.

They want to overrun the Ukrainian military as they have tried and failed to do since February 2022. Why? Because they want to conquer a sovereign country and annex its territory. That is why the missiles are still falling on Kyiv.

Russia can end this war at any time by withdrawing its troops. Until then, we will help Ukraine defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity and uphold the principles of the UN Charter.

Thank you.

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