Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on Ukraine

Ambassador Richard Mills
Deputy U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
May 13, 2022


I shall now make a statement in my capacity as the Representative of the United States.

And let me begin as well, in joining colleagues, by expressing my deepest condolences to the United Arab Emirates on the death of its President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

I thank Mr. Markam for your appearance here this morning, and for the always credible, objective, and sober contributions of UNODA to the Security Council’s discussions. But I also regret that you’ve been asked to join us today as part of this truly farcical conversation.

As others have said, Russia is, once again, using the Security Council. Using it as a platform to spout disinformation and conspiracy theories about Ukraine, even as Russia continues its brutal and inhumane assault on the Ukrainian people. Russia repeatedly debases the Council through these absurd meetings and endless claims about chemical and biological weapons programs in Ukraine that are categorically false and ludicrous. They follow a well-worn pattern in which Russian authorities accuse others of the very violations Russia either has perpetrated or intends to perpetrate.

We should not lend Russia’s outlandish claims any credence, beyond watching closely for the possibility of a “false flag” chemical or biological attack by Russia’s forces as the Kremlin continues to perpetrate its premeditated, unjustified, and unprovoked war against Ukraine.

We heard this morning fanciful claims about poisoned bank notes, secret treatments on psychiatric prisoners, nondisclosure agreements; it’s as if the Russian delegation’s talking points came from a bad spy novel. But what is not fiction, and what we must not forget, is that Russia has a long and well-documented track record of using chemical weapons, including in attempted assassinations, and the poisoning of Putin’s political enemies, like Aleksey Navalny. It is Russia that continues to support the Assad regime in Syria, a regime that has repeatedly used chemical weapons. It is Russia that has long maintained a well-documented biological weapons program in violation of international law, including the Biological Weapons Convention. These actions are unacceptable. And we will not stand for them.

I reiterate the United States’ position that any use of chemical or biological weapons by Russia will result in severe consequences. And we expect the Russian government to publicly and unequivocally state that Russian forces, and its proxies, will not use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine or anywhere – ever – in accordance with Russia’s international legal obligations.

Colleagues – what we’re seeing today from the Russian Federation is not the behavior of a responsible country seeking to address serious concerns in this body. Even the documents Moscow circulates don’t support their allegations. This is merely an attempt to distract us from the awful violence Russia is perpetrating in Ukraine. It is an effort to make us turn away from the suffering inflicted by Putin’s war, the horrors of Bucha, the brutal siege of Mariupol, and the bombardments killing civilians across the country.

But the United States is not fooled, nor are council members. And we are not going to look away. Instead, we will continue to hold Russia accountable, and we join others in continuing to call on Putin to end his war of choice.

I now resume my position as President of the council.