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UK military advisor, Ian Stubbs, says Moscow’s reprehensible actions in Ukraine corrupt the memory of past sacrifices and Russia’s once-proud global

reputation.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Over the past week, Russia has again conducted massive missile and UAV strikes against inhabited areas across Ukraine, with minimal regard to discrimination or proportionality. Of note, on Monday, the Ukrainian Red Cross reported that a missile strike completely destroyed 1,000 square metres of humanitarian aid stored in a large warehouse for the Odesa region. Such attacks by Russia seek to punish the Ukrainian people and to spread terror. They are cruel acts of vengeance and a disgraceful manifestation of the failure of the Russian military leadership.

At the same time, the Kremlin and our Russian colleagues in this room continue to attempt to distract from failures on the battlefield with a campaign of lies, threats and propaganda. Last week the Russian delegate repeated familiar false narratives on confrontation. I would like to again highlight the irony of this coming from a country which invaded Georgia in 2008, illegally annexed Crimea in 2014 and then launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February last year.

Madam Chair, the Russian leadership’s unprovoked, illegal, and senseless invasion of Ukraine; their attacks against innocent civilians and their homes; and their widespread atrocities corrupt the memory of past sacrifices and Russia’s once-proud global reputation. These actions are reprehensible and cowardly.

Europe has terrible memories of the totalitarian regimes of the 1930s and 40s, with their disregard for human life, cultural heritage, territory and sovereignty of smaller states. Moscow’s actions now corrupt the memory of all those who fought against tyranny and paid the ultimate sacrifice in the belief that they would save future generations from the scourge of war.

We pay tribute to the sacrifice of those who fought for the Soviet Union in the Second World War. But this year, Moscow’s celebration of Victory Day highlights the failings of its invasion of Ukraine. The cancellation of many military parades and Immortal Regiment processions across Russia hints at the grim reality of its enormous losses that beyond the many innocent Ukrainian victims, young Russian men are being killed in their thousands in the name of Putin’s war - leaving mothers without sons, wives without husbands, and children without fathers.

Madam Chair, in a desperate attempt to try and replenish its numbers, the Russian Ministry of Defence has ramped up its recruitment campaign of prisoners for fighting in Ukraine. Reports indicate that up to 10,000 convicts were recruited in April 2023.

Russian military recruiters have also been targeting central Asian migrant workers in Russia to serve in Ukraine. Recruiters have visited mosques and immigration offices to recruit. At immigration offices, staff who speak Tajik and Uzbek routinely attempt to recruit migrants. Radio Free Europe reported recruiters offering sign-up bonuses of USD $2,390 and salaries of up to USD $4,160 a month. Migrants have also been offered a fast-track Russian citizenship path of six months to one year, instead of the usual five years.

However, both the convicts and migrant workers recruited by the Russian Ministry of Defence appear to have been sent to the Ukrainian frontlines in attritional combat where the casualty rate is extremely high. On 3 May 2023, Russian private military company Wagner head, Yevgeny Prigozhin, stated that his forces had suffered 116 fatalities in one day fighting in and around Bakhmut.

Madam Chair, the persistent and institutional poor decision making by the Kremlin is having a terrible impact on the Russian people – more needless deaths; more grieving families; more defeats; more demoralised troops; more discontent; and more isolation. Putin is creating a legacy which millions of young Russians did not choose and did not vote for, but will be forced to bear the cost of for years to come.

Russia must realise that it can never win in Ukraine. If it keeps fighting, it will keep losing. We do not underestimate the continuing threat posed by the Russian Federation but, in time, there will be cause for Ukraine to celebrate. Ukraine will continue to demonstrate their resolute courage, determination and enduring moral strength as they fight to liberate more of their homeland. Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence will be fully restored. The UK and the international community will remain steadfast in our support – we will stand by Ukraine for however long it takes.

 Thank you.

Photo by Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Wikimedia commons.

deneme