By targeting civilians, Russia deliberately violates IHL

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Mister President,

I thank Ms. Di Carlo and Ms. Brown for their presentations.

Eight months after launching its war of aggression, Russia has crossed a new threshold. It has been bombarding Ukrainian cities indiscriminately for 10 days, deliberately choosing to strike at civilian infrastructure, particularly energy, in kyiv, in Sumy, in the Dniepro. She no longer even tries to conceal the crimes of which she is guilty.

Russia is violating the founding principles of the United Nations Charter and the norms derived from it: the prohibition of aggression, the peaceful settlement of disputes, the sovereignty of States and respect for territorial integrity. The United Nations General Assembly has unequivocally and overwhelmingly condemned these violations of our Charter.

By targeting civilians, Russia deliberately violates international humanitarian law. He tries in vain to break the morale of the Ukrainian nation. By indiscriminately striking cities, Russia seeks to terrorize. By destroying essential civilian infrastructure, particularly in the energy sector, he intends to cause shortages of electricity and heating with the onset of winter. It counts on the suffering of civilians, including women, children and the elderly. All of Ukraine’s partners are on its side. France has already mobilized resources to help Ukraine this winter.

Mister President,

We urge Russia to respect international humanitarian law and allow humanitarian actors access to civilian populations in the territories it claims to occupy, as well as to prisoners of war, including those held in Russian captivity. We are particularly concerned about their fate.

The abuses and destruction resulting from this aggression may constitute war crimes, and the perpetrators will have to answer for their acts. On September 22, Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna reiterated before this Council that there will be no impunity for criminals. The International Criminal Court must move forward rapidly in its work, going as far back as possible in the chain of responsibilities. France, with many of its partners, supports the collection of evidence by investigative mechanisms, both national and international.

Mister President,

It is now well documented that the Russian armed forces use Iranian drones in Ukraine, in particular to indiscriminately bombard civilian infrastructure. Iran’s supply of this equipment to Russia is a violation of resolution 2231, as we and our German and British partners stated today in a letter to the members of this Council. The European Union yesterday adopted new sanctions against Iranian entities and individuals involved in the production and transfer of these drones. France supports Ukraine’s call for the Secretariat to investigate and report to Council members in accordance with its mandate. France calls on Iran to immediately cease all forms of support for the war of aggression launched by Russia against Ukraine. He calls on Russia and Iran to stop violating resolution 2231.

France also denounces the complicity of Belarus, whose territory continues to be used for missile and drone strikes against Ukraine.

Finally, Mr President,

The vote of the General Assembly last week was without appeal: Russia is alone, and massively condemned by the international community.

Ukraine, on the other hand, has the strength of international solidarity. We will continue to provide the Ukrainian people with all the humanitarian, economic and military support they need to exercise their right to self-defense and preserve their freedom, for as long as necessary.

Thanks.

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