Statement by Mr. Konstantin Gavrilov, Head of the Delegation of the Russian Federation to the Vienna Negotiations on Military Security and Arms Control, at the 1014th Plenary Meeting of the OSCE Forum for Security Co-Operation

Mr. Chairperson,

Amid the catastrophic escalation of tensions in Donbas, which has been deliberately provoked by the nationalist regime in Kyiv, Ukraine’s Western handlers are taking the liberty of playing with fire and calling for nuclear weapons to be transferred to that country. These alarming signals are coming from Poland, a State that, while talking about dialogue with the Russian Federation being unacceptable, has begun actively taking control of Ukrainian territory and that, for several months now, has been one of the principal fomenters of the West’s proxy war against Russia “down to the last Ukrainian”.

We strongly condemn the irresponsible attempts to provoke a nuclear conflict in the centre of Europe. For that is how we would categorize the assertion by Radosław Sikorski, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland and a current Member of the European Parliament, that the West had “the right to give Ukraine nuclear warheads”, since Russia had allegedly violated the Budapest Memorandum. In this connection we are obliged to recall that the Budapest Memorandum was signed when Ukraine acceded to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as a non-nuclear-weapon State. Consequently, Ukraine is a non-nuclear-weapon State within the meaning of the NPT, and not under the Budapest Memorandum. The Polish politicians unscrupulously presenting this matter in a negative light are essentially weakening the nuclear non-proliferation regime for the sake of opportunistic political considerations. But most importantly, they are imperilling their own citizens, whom they are thus dragging into a reshaping of the world in nuclear terms.

The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, recently characterized the United States of America and the collective West at whose helm it stands as an “empire of lies”. This empire was established a long time ago, what with the gross distortion of historical truth, “screening” of the media space and the direct violation of OSCE commitments to ensure free and unhindered access to any information. All these commitments have long since been laid to rest by the West. In contrast, anti-Russian lies and disinformation automatically receive unquestioning support. A case in point in this regard is the former Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament) Commissioner for Human Rights, Liudmyla Denisova, who continuously relayed fake stories about adolescents and young children having been brutally raped by Russian military personnel. She recently admitted herself that in this way she had been “trying to achieve the goal of persuading the world to provide weapons and put pressure on Russia”. On 31 May this year, the members of the Verkhovna Rada removed her from her post, citing her obsession with “sexual crimes committed by unnatural means”, which, moreover, were “not backed up by proof”. However, until then her insinuations had managed to obtain the widest circulation in Western media and were even shamelessly reproduced here at the OSCE. We understand that for our colleagues it is far more convenient to make use of Ukrainian lies than to openly face the facts. Now, the facts are as follows: that Western OSCE participating States rendering military assistance to the Ukrainian Government in any form are accomplices in Ukraine’s war crimes against the civilian population of Donbas. We will present these crimes today.

Mr. Chairperson,

The Ukrainian authorities, having slithered down to the level of State terrorism, continue their blind, unconscionable and aggressive war against the inhabitants of the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) and the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). For the second week in a row, the neo-Nazis have on a daily basis been inflicting random strikes exclusively on peaceful towns and villages situated deep in the rear. Moreover, they are employing Western arms and shells with the NATO-standard calibre for heavy artillery of 155 mm. For the benefit of our colleagues who are not military experts: one such shell is capable of razing an ordinary building to the ground. This is, in particular, true of the French-made 155 mm OGR F1 cluster munitions, which are prohibited under the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions. By the looks of it, the French Government has not only not destroyed this forbidden weapon type by way of implementation of its obligations under the Convention, but has actually transferred such weapons to Ukrainian military personnel for use against civilians.

On 9 June, in the direction of Luhansk, the Ukrainian neo-Nazis fired 9M27F rockets with fragmentation warheads from an Uragan multiple-launch rocket system at the city of Stakhanov, which is located far behind the front line. Residential buildings that pose no threat whatsoever to the Ukrainian army were hit. As a result, 15 people were killed and around ten were seriously injured. On 8 June, intensive random shelling of the city of Popasna from 155 mm M777 howitzers supplied by the United States and Canada led to the destruction of apartment buildings and a lyceum. On 13 June, during the evacuation of Luhansk residents from the settlement of Toshkivka, where they had been forced to seek shelter from the shelling inside a mine for around three months, the Ukrainian neo-Nazis used against civilians Polish-made 82 mm silent mortar shells, whole crates of which are regularly supplied to the Ukrainian armed forces. Reports are coming in from eyewitnesses about cluster munitions with flechettes capable of piercing through a person’s body being used against LPR residents.

An upsurge in armed violence is being recorded in the direction of Donetsk. The Ukrainian troops continue to make intensive use of a French-made Caesar self-propelled artillery mount, which was employed to shell the city’s Kalininskyi district on 9 June and its Kyivskyi district on 11 June. Our colleagues can see on the screens the high level of casualties and destruction caused by the bombardment. On 13 June, the crowded Maisky market was subjected to inhumane shelling in the daytime. Three people were killed, including a mother and her child. Several stalls were destroyed, cars were blown to pieces. I invite you to watch a short video. On that same day, the Ukrainian Nazis bombarded the Vishnevsky Maternity Hospital in Donetsk. Most of the patients and staff could be evacuated to the basement. However, intubated infants on ventilation support remained where they were in the paediatric resuscitation department, as did the medical personnel who were on duty there attending to them. None of them were hurt, even though windows in that wing of the hospital were blown out by the shock wave. In total, at least 17 civilians were killed and around 110 people were injured in the city of Donetsk between 7 and 14 June. More than 270 civilian houses and 80 civilian infrastructure facilities were damaged or destroyed. These are not the definitive figures.

Will we hear any condemnation today of the barbaric shelling of residential areas and a maternity hospital in Donetsk? Or will our Western colleagues remain silent again? In that case, why did they get so worked up when a maternity hospital in Mariupol in which Ukrainian neo-Nazis had set up their firing positions was hit? Where have the champions of United Nations Security Council resolution 1325, which calls for the protection of women and girls in situations of armed conflict, disappeared to? But perhaps, taking their cue from German and French television channels, they will say that it was the Donetsk people deliberately “shelling themselves” and that the Russians are again to blame for everything. What excuses will they come up with next merely so as not to have to admit that civilians in Donbas have for eight years been enduring shelling by the Ukrainian armed forces and nationalist battalions using Western arms?

We warn our Western colleagues that direct and public incitement to commit genocide against the civilian population of Donbas, as well as complicity in such genocide through the provision of military assistance to Ukraine, will result in drastic measures in accordance with Article III of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Under Article II of the Convention, genocide means “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group as such”. It means “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”. It means “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group”. It means “imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group”. And it is precisely what ordinary people of flesh and blood have been experiencing in the DPR and the LPR for eight years now.

Mr. Chairperson,

The Russian Federation will continue to resolutely implement the objectives set by President Putin as regards protection of the civilian population of Donbas. The thorough demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine will most assuredly be accomplished. In this regard, we would observe that the Ukrainian Nazis’ use of a Tochka-U missile to carry out cynical strikes on the environs of the Russian town of Klintsy in the Bryansk region (situated 50 km from the Russian-Ukrainian border), as a result of which six Russian citizens were injured and more than 50 houses were damaged, will not go unanswered.

As part of the demilitarization of Ukraine, 202 airplanes, 131 helicopters, 1,205 unmanned aerial vehicles, 338 anti-aircraft missile systems, 3,548 tanks and other armoured combat vehicles, 521 multiple-launch rocket systems, 1,947 field artillery pieces and mortars, and 3,605 special operations tactical vehicles have been disabled since the start of the special military operation. Air-launched precision missiles were used to destroy a large quantity of weapons and military equipment from Western countries in the area of the railway station at Udachne (DPR). A training centre of the Ukrainian armed forces near the city of Novohrad-Volynskyi in the Zhytomyr region, where foreign “soldiers of fortune” were undergoing conversion training, has been destroyed. A temporary base for foreign mercenaries in the area of the settlement of Fedorivka (LPR) was successfully eliminated. Additionally, sea-based Kalibr long-range precision missiles razed to the ground a large depot in the area of the city of Chortkiv in the Ternopil region containing anti-tank missile systems, man-portable air defence systems and artillery shells shipped from the United States and European countries. This systematic work will continue.

We once again emphasize that mercenaries sent by the West to assist the nationalist regime in Kyiv are not combatants under international humanitarian law and are not entitled to prisoner-of-war status. The best they can hope for is imprisonment. Failing that, they will be either liquidated by Russian troops as part of the demilitarization of Ukraine or sentenced to death in the Donbas republics for cumulative crimes. It is, indeed, the latter fate that, pursuant to a ruling by the Supreme Court of the DPR, almost certainly awaits the British citizens Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin, who were charged with participating in the hostilities on the side of Ukraine as mercenaries. No requests from the United Kingdom concerning the two convicted men have been received by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the DPR authorities, even though their relatives have appealed to the British authorities.

The allied troops will deal in similar fashion with foreign weapons supplied to Ukraine by Western countries in order, as they claim, “to strengthen the Ukrainian Government’s position at the negotiating table”. However, all this foreign hardware, which in view of its unwieldiness the Ukrainian fighters are leaving behind as they retreat, will inevitably become trophies of the DPR and LPR people’s militias and the armed forces of the Russian Federation. On the screens our colleagues can now see US-made Javelin and Swedish-made NLAW anti-tank missile systems, US-made Browning M2 large-calibre machine guns, German-made anti-tank mines, ammunition for the Swedish-made Carl Gustaf 84 mm grenade launcher, a modern Ukrainian-made UA-40 automatic grenade launcher, and various Soviet-made small arms and light weapons and associated ammunition. They are now finally in the safe hands of the allied troops.

Although the Ukrainian Government’s British handlers regularly extol the “phenomenal” heroism and professionalism of the Ukrainian armed forces at the Forum for Security Co-operation, the facts are what they are – namely, that the Ukrainian battle group in Donbas is sustaining significant losses among its troops and to its weapons and military equipment. In the course of the liberation of Sviatohirsk (DPR) alone, the Ukrainian forces’ losses over the three days of fighting came to more than 300 nationalists. They are demoralized and hamstrung by their low level of training, as they readily point out in interviews with international media outlets. Soldiers from the Ukrainian territorial defence forces complained to a correspondent from the French newspaper Le Figaro that their training prior to deployment to the front line had lasted just one and a half days. After coming under attack by Russian aerospace forces in Donbas, 23 out of the 30 surviving members of a unit refused to return to their positions. Talking to The Washington Post, the commander of a company of the Ukrainian armed forces in Druzhkivka, Serhii Lapko, likewise stated that Ukrainian military personnel were “feeling abandoned by their military superiors and struggling to survive”. Lapko was removed from his post and arrested because of this interview.

In these conditions it is not surprising that more and more soldiers of the Ukrainian armed forces are surrendering and going into captivity, where they are guaranteed humane treatment in line with the provisions of the Geneva Conventions. According to the Russian Human Rights Commissioner, Tatiana Moskalkova, she regularly receives requests from the mothers of Ukrainian prisoners of war asking her not to repatriate their sons to territories controlled by the Ukrainian Government, which could put them at risk of being mobilized again or being subjected to reprisals. The criminal Kyiv regime is trying to stop this tendency, so embarrassing to it, and preventing its units from surrendering through punitive actions carried out by retreat-blocking detachments. A few days ago, 32 Ukrainian military personnel from the 25th Battalion of the 54th Mechanized Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces perished as they were treacherously shot in the back after they had decided to lay down their arms.

Mr. Chairperson,

The most intensive fighting is currently taking place in the LPR, above all in the territory of the Lysychansk-Sievierodonetsk conurbation. The allied forces have concentrated their main efforts in that direction. At present the Ukrainian nationalists have been driven out of Sievierodonetsk, but the Azot chemical plant remains under their control. Radicals there, following the Mariupol blueprint, are detaining hundreds of the city’s inhabitants – women, children and elderly people – in underground installations.

The Russian Ministry of Defence has received a request from the Ukrainian side for a humanitarian corridor to be established so that civilians can be evacuated to territory controlled by the Ukrainian Government, namely the city of Lysychansk. However, this does not currently seem feasible, given that on 13 June, as instructed by the Kyiv authorities with a view to preventing the retreat of territorial defence units, the Ukrainian armed forces blew up the last remaining bridge across the Seversky Donets River that leads to Lysychansk. As a consequence, it seems impossible to safely evacuate civilians in that direction.

Guided by exclusively humane principles, the armed forces of the Russian Federation and armed formations of the LPR are willing to conduct a humanitarian operation for the safe evacuation of civilians. A humanitarian corridor leading to the city of Svatove (LPR) will be open today, 15 June, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Moscow time). To that end, the fighters from nationalist battalions and foreign mercenaries are required to cease all hostilities, release citizens and lay down their arms. The Russian Federation guarantees that captive military personnel will have their lives spared, and that all norms of the relevant Geneva Convention will be observed, as was the case previously with those who surrendered in Mariupol.

Mr. Chairperson,

The general public are being exposed to ever greater evidence that the Ukrainian Government is controlled and steered by the United States, which pulls the strings there, as it were. In this regard, given that the US Government plans to send 1.5 billion dollars to Kyiv every month to support the work of the Ukrainian Government, it is natural to ask why the US handlers of the latter do not ensure that their protégés stay within the bounds of international humanitarian law and why they do not care about the Ukrainian people. Have they forgotten that “we become responsible for that which we have tamed”. In a recent interview with The New York Times, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, shamelessly stated that the Ukrainian military were setting up defensive positions in inhabited cities because in this way they were able to “find cover”, “minimize losses” and “resist a longer time”. We must stress that this tactic of the Ukrainian Government, which it was taught by its NATO handlers, is being implemented at the expense and to the detriment of the civilian population of Ukraine. This is a gross violation of the 1949 Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and the Protocol Additional to it, which prohibit the adoption of measures capable of leading to the killing of civilians, the wounded and sick, and medical personnel, or to the destruction of movable and immovable property, when not absolutely necessary for a military operation.

In closing, allow me to say a few words about the military biological activities of the United States in Ukraine. You now have in front of you a confidential document from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence, which says that on 24 February the country’s President signed a decree ordering the destruction of all records on the employees of Ukrainian enterprises that had been collaborating with US military biological laboratories. This refers to military personnel, civilian personnel and the staff of the Public Health Centre of Ukraine, the Mechnikov Ukrainian Anti-Plague Research Institute and the Zhytomyr Regional Laboratory Centre of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health. In this regard, it again becomes clear that claims that the activities carried out in that country by the US Department of Defense and associated entities were focused exclusively on healthcare matters do not correspond to reality. Otherwise, why would the Ukrainian Government need to wipe those databases? We once again call on our US colleagues to display professionalism and embark without delay on substantive work aimed at clarifying the situation regarding their military biological activities in Ukraine. We for our part intend to activate very soon the mechanisms under Articles V and VI of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, which provide for consultations between the States Parties to solve any problems in relation to the objective of, or in the application of the provisions of, the Convention, and which also provide for co-operation in the conduct of any investigations of possible breaches of obligations under the Convention.

I request that this statement be attached to the journal of the day.

Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

Quelle: Pressemitteilungen – Botschaft der Russischen Föderation