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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on the UN Secretary-General's statements on the referendums in the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions and the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics

30 September 2022 19:38

We noted a series of biased, judgmental statements made on September 29 by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as regards the expression of will by the people of the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions and the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics. The Secretary-General said, "Any decision to proceed with the annexation of Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions of Ukraine would have no legal value and deserves to be condemned."

Let's recall that Article 97 of the UN Charter identifies the Secretary-General as the "Chief administrative officer of the Organisation." These functions do not grant the chief of the UN Secretariat the right to make politically charged statements on behalf of the entire organisation. Nor is this person authorised to interpret the standards of the UN Charter and documents of the General Assembly, including the 1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in Accordance with the UN Charter.

We would like to emphasise that Article 100 of the UN Charter requires the absence of bias from the employees of the UN Secretariat: "They shall refrain from any action which might reflect on their position as international officials responsible only to the Organisation." But what is happening in reality is directly the opposite of these requirements.

Obviously, in this case Antonio Guterres not only exceeded his authority but also expressed de facto solidarity with the collective West by resorting to a selective approach to interpreting the current developments.

Thus, the Secretary-General cited the principle of non-use of force in international relations but ignored the principle of the self-determination of nations, which is fixed in the UN Charter. Meanwhile, the decisions made by the people of the DPR, LPR, and the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions reflect the free expression of their will in full conformity with the 1970 Declaration.

This declaration indeed guarantees territorial integrity but only to those states "possessed of a government representing the whole people belonging to the territory without distinction as to race, creed or colour." It is perfectly obvious that the Kiev authorities that have harassed a big part of their population for ethnic, religious, language and cultural reasons, do not at all fit this criterion. In addition, according to the said declaration, "Every State has the duty to refrain from any forcible action which deprives peoples <...> of their right to self-determination and freedom and independence."

In reality, Ukraine was crudely and persistently violating not only this provision but also the Minsk Agreements sealed by UN Security Council Resolution 2202 (2015). It was doing this with the active connivance of the Western countries. When this happened, nobody heard the Secretary-General say a single word denouncing the Kiev regime. Meanwhile, since the moment of the illegal state coup, staged and sponsored by the West, this regime was fighting its own citizens, and everything Russian, including culture, language and identity, for eight years. During all these years, the Kiev regime was shelling, killing, mutilating, abducting and torturing the residents of Donbass. However, the Secretary-General preferred to keep silent about this.

Forgetting about unanimous resolutions of the UN Security Council, the Secretary-General is acting in line with politicised and non-consensus decisions of the General Assembly without thinking twice. Based on this shaky foundation, he gives unlawful instructions to his subordinates. In the process, he ignores our exhaustive explanations to the effect that Russia is taking its steps in strict conformity with Article 51 of the UN Charter.

Against this backdrop, we are outraged by Antonio Guterres's silencing of the continued illegal US military invasion of Syria, which is accompanied by the occupation of part of its territory and looting of its natural riches. The Secretary-General did not say a word to condemn shameful colonial and neocolonial practices, including the situation around the Island of Mayotte and the Falkland Islands that are still under the colonial domination of France and Britain, respectively. The UN Secretariat leadership was silent also when the collective West was improvising its plan to grant independence to Kosovo after its unlawful military invasion of Yugoslavia in violation of the UN Charter. At that time, even a referendum was unnecessary. The Western countries decided that a declaration of independence adopted by a local government body, unilaterally and obviously in excess of its powers, would be quite enough. We'd like to recall that many of our Western colleagues declared in their written explanations to the UN International Court of Justice that "international law does not prohibit the proclamation of independence."

In this context, direct attacks by the UN Secretary-General on the fundamental right of the people of the DPR, LPR and the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions to self-determination is one more example of hypocrisy and blatant double standards.

We consider it unacceptable for the UN Secretary-General to turn into an instrument of propaganda and pressure on UN member-states at a time when he must strictly follow all provisions of the UN Charter.

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