Remarks at a Russian-Hosted Arria-Formula Meeting on Ukraine

Trina Saha
Deputy Counselor for Political Affairs
New York, New York
January 20, 2023


Colleagues, Russia called this meeting today in yet another attempt to deflect culpability and justify its brutal war against Ukraine.

We’ve seen Russia employ this tactic time and time again. This week alone, Russia has twice gathered the members of the Security Council to try and blame Ukraine for the war of aggression that the Kremlin launched. This aggression mercilessly continues to inflict needless pain and suffering on Ukraine civilians.

Russia is trying to convince the world and UN Member States that its war of choice against its neighbor and fellow UN Member State Ukraine is not a blatant violation of the UN Charter. The international community has already rejected this claim multiple times, and by an overwhelming margin.

We must recognize Russia’s attempts to change the conversation for what they are: desperate attempts to obfuscate the simple fact that Russia invaded its neighbor and wants the international community to turn a blind eye.

For months now Russia’s devastating strikes have had cities and towns across Ukraine. These strikes have damaged and destroyed residential areas and medical facilities. Russia’s attacks against Ukraine civilian infrastructure have left families in Ukraine without heat and electricity during the coldest, darkest part of the year.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said after his trip last December to Ukraine that “each day we receive information about war crimes, the scale of civilian casualties, as well as the significant damage and destruction to civilian objects, including hospitals and schools, is shocking.”

The UN Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine and the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine have documented patterns of summary executions, unlawful confinement, torture, rape, and other forms of sexual violence committed in areas of Ukraine occupied by Russia’s armed forces. Tragically, we expect these chilling reports of atrocities and abuses to mount.

Colleagues, the Kremlin chose this war. Many of us tried to prevent it. The vast majority of countries at the United Nations continue to call for it to end. But there’s only one country that can end this war today, and that is Russia.

As Secretary Blinken said here in New York last September, “If Russia stops fighting the war ends; if Ukraine stops fighting Ukraine ends.” This is not the time for false equivalencies or statements which attempt to obscure that Russia alone is responsible for this conflict.

The United States once again calls on Russia to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbor. And we call on Russia to stop violating the principles enshrined in the UN Charter and to end its unconscionable war.

Thank you