Acting Political Coordinator
New York, New York
July 11, 2022
Colleagues, I’ll be brief since we’ve already sat through this same meeting multiple times already and Russia continues to abuse its Council seat to hold meetings that waste our time and attention.
Let’s be clear on what this meeting is and is not. It is not a serious attempt to hold a discussion on Neo-Nazism and violent extremism. It is a cynical attempt by Russia to use the Council as a platform to broadcast its state propaganda and to justify its brutal, unprovoked, and premeditated war of aggression against Ukraine.
We reject Russia’s repeated efforts to distort history for its own political purposes. The UN General Assembly has overwhelmingly condemned Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and rejected Russia’s false narratives and disinformation, including its attempts to smear its neighbors as “neo-fascists” and “neo-Nazis.”
But meetings like the one today are especially harmful as they detract from serious, critically important worldwide efforts to combat anti-Semitism and violent extremism.
We must all condemn and combat anti-Semitism in all its forms, as well as other forms of intolerance and discrimination, such as racism and xenophobia. But the rule of law must not be replaced by the use of force, such as when Russia claims “denazification” as one of the goals of its brutal and illegal invasion of another UN Member State.
UN Member States must send a clear reminder today that any attempts to change the internationally recognized borders of sovereign states by the use of force are unlawful, irresponsible, and dangerous.
Russia seeks to delegitimize and demonize Ukraine in the eyes of the public and the world in order to fabricate a pretext for its war. To serve its predatory ends, the Kremlin is exploiting the suffering and sacrifice of all those who lived through World War II and survived the Holocaust. The Kremlin is trying to manipulate international public opinion by drawing a false parallel between its aggression against Ukraine and the Soviet Union’s fight against Nazi Germany, a fiction that Russia alone stands behind.
What has become clear is that Russia has launched its premeditated and unprovoked further invasion of Ukraine, credible reports of atrocities committed by Russia’s forces against civilians have grown with every passing day. Bucha, Borodyanka, Mariupol, and Kherson will go down in history as sites of horrific atrocities and human suffering. The Kremlin will not be allowed to act with impunity, and the United States, along with our allies and partners, will pursue accountability mechanisms to seek justice for its victims.
We are appalled by Russia’s bombardments hitting civilian shelters, infrastructure, shopping plazas, and even houses of worship. Intentional targeting of civilians and civilian objects is a war crime. Our message to Russia’s leadership and military who commit war crimes or other atrocities is this: The world is watching, and you will be held accountable.
Despite Russia’s attempts to cast blame on everyone except itself, the fact remains that Russia alone bears responsibility for this war. President Putin started this war. He alone can end it. It is up to Russia to silence its guns, withdraw its forces from Ukraine’s territory, and embrace diplomacy.