It is more than two months already when russia began its military aggression against Ukraine.
As I am talking now, the battle for Ukrainian Donbas is unfolding. Russia’s original invasion plan directed at simultaneous seizure of Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odesa, with the aim to change power in Ukraine, has failed. The russian side has regrouped the major part of its troops to eastern Ukraine with the aim to occupy the entire territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and to secure the land corridor to Crimea across the city of Mariupol, preferably until 9th of May (despite earlier statements that it had no territorial ambitions in Ukraine). In the meantime, russia continues launching missile and bomb strikes on military and civilian infrastructure throughout Ukraine.
Having failed to make Ukraine surrender after a “Blitzkrieg”, russia started searching for fake pretexts to “justify” its war of aggression:
- despite russia’s false allegations, Ukraine has neither intention, nor steps taken aimed at creation of nuclear weapon. This was confirmed by IAEA Director General on 4 March;
- various russian officials falsely accuse Ukraine of non-existent biological or chemical weapons. This was dismantled by the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs as well as UN Member States at the UN SC briefings on 11 and 18 March;
- Russia’s claims that Ukraine needs to be “demilitarized” sound even more absurd, looking at the numbers of troops, heavy weapons and aircrafts sent by it to invade Ukraine;
- the russian side began staging attacks on its own territory, with the aim to blame Ukraine and create pretext for shelling civilian objects in Ukrainian cities with missiles.
Ukraine has activated its right for self-defense according to the UN Charter Article 51. We continue to fight and we will stand.
At the same time Ukraine is trying to do its best to stop the war. But, to be honest, atrocities and war crimes committed by the russian troops in Ukraine limit the space for negotiations. The possible murder of Ukrainian defenders in Mariupol or organizing fake “referendums” in the occupied territories may put an end to the negotiation process.
As it was told already, we need international legally binding long-term guarantees of security. Such guarantees can be provided by the UN SC Member States and Ukraine’s neighbors, like the mechanism envisaged by the North Atlantic Treaty. The negotiation process is going on for the moment.
Being aware that it will not be able to win this war, russia deliberately destroys Ukraine’s economy. Since the start of war, a major part of economic activity has stalled: nearly 50% of Ukraine’s enterprises work only partially, and 9% have stopped their activity. The russian troops damage and destroy bridges and roads. Many industrial plants located primarily in eastern Ukraine suspended their work. russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov disrupts Ukraine’s export. The Ukrainian Government estimates that overall infrastructure and economic losses in Ukraine caused by russia’s war, will exceed 1 trillion USD in the years to come.
The unprecedented sanctions are of particular importance, isolating russia’s economy and severely undermining its economic and financial capacities to continue aggression.
The russian war against Ukraine is a threat to global food security. As stressed by the UN Secretary General, the war “could throw more than 1/5 of humanity into poverty, destitution and hunger on a scale not seen in decades”. Defending Ukraine also protects the world from hunger and famine.
In view of the ongoing war, unfortunately, humanitarian problems increase every day. The worst situation remains in the city of Mariupol, destroyed now for 95%. Thousands of civilians remain in blockade without water, heat, electricity, and communications, including in the Azovstal Metallurgical Plant. It could be referred to as “genocide”. They need immediate safe evacuation and the russian forces are well aware of this. Instead, the russians deny all requests from the Ukrainian side, world leaders and the UN high officials for evacuation corridors for civilians. The russians continue to shell Azovstal and the entire city with aerial bombs, rockets and heavy artillery. The russians have also blocked humanitarian convoys with food and medicine from Ukraine or international organizations to the city.
Every time it seems that we have already got accustomed to the ignoble methods of russian warfare. And every new piece of news from Mariupol and dozens of other hotspots proves that russians are still able to hit new lows.
They didn’t allow humanitarian pause in war even during orthodox Easter.
The number of civilians who lost their lives due to russian attacks in Mariupol is estimated to reach 10,000. The fate of dozens of thousands of them who were forcibly deported to russia, remains unknown. The russian occupiers use mobile crematoria and mass graves to destroy evidence of their crimes. Humanitarian corridor for civilians and wounded Ukrainian servicemen in Mariupol are urgently needed.
In the towns of Kyiv region (Bucha, Borodianka, Hostomel and others), the russian occupiers killed 1084 people, up to 75% of them by small arms, that is deliberately, on purpose. The massacre committed by the russian military demonstrates real hatred towards Ukrainians and represents war crimes.
According to recent data, the UN Human Rights Office recorded 5,840 confirmed civilian casualties in Ukraine: 2,729 killed and 3,111 injured (as of midnight 26th of April). The real figures may be considerably higher.
I call upon the Government of Lao PDR to support the efforts of international community to open humanitarian corridors and save the innocent civilians of Mariupol and other eastern cities and towns.
This week we had the anniversary of the Chornobyl nuclear disaster, that is the most horrifying technology catastrophe of the 20th century. Today’s russia’s invasion of Ukraine put the world at risk of nuclear disaster again.
From 24 February to 31 March, the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant was under control of the russian troops. A lot of laboratory equipment and archives were destroyed or stolen. The russian military have twice damaged the power line, which could lead to the leak of radiation (both times, the Ukrainian repair teams restored it). During the occupation of the exclusion zone, fires were recorded in natural complexes and abandoned villages affecting the area of more than 10 thousand hectares.
On 4 March, the entire Europe was put on the brink of nuclear disaster, when the russian troops began shelling the largest in Europe Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. It remains seized by russian military (up to 500 military personnel and 50 military vehicles are stationed now). The Power Plant staff is forced to align all technical decisions regarding the station with the russian military commander and “Rosatom” employees. On 26 April, two russian cruise missiles flew over the Plant: another act of nuclear terrorism by russia.
This is a nuclear threat to the entire European continent. We cannot allow the Chornobyl disaster to repeat.
Ukraine’s investigative task forces and international community like Human Rights Watch researchers work on recording war crimes and identifying all those involved. According to President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the number of war crimes committed by the russian soldiers has already reached tens of thousands. Russia must be recognized as a state – sponsor of terrorism, and the russian armed forces must be recognized as a terrorist organization.
We welcome all steps made by the international institutions to bring russia to justice, as well as statements made by the heads of state and government throughout the world, on russia’s responsibility for war crimes.
We call upon the Government of Lao PDR to condemn Russia’s military aggression and join the international sanctions on russia.
Ukrainian people would expect from the People of Laos to support Ukraine, provide humanitarian aid, continue donations for peace.
STAND WITH UKRAINE!