Read the impassioned plea from Ukraine's U.N. ambassador to Russia to stop the war
Updated February 24, 2022 at 5:02 PM ET
Moments after Russia announced the invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian representative to the United Nations launched an intense, last-ditch call for Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the war.
At an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council in New York Wednesday night, Ukraine's U.N. Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya held up his smartphone and shook it toward his Russian counterpart, demanding he put an end the invasion right then and there.
"Call Putin, call [Russian Foreign Minister Sergey] Lavrov to stop aggression," Kyslytsya implored in his speech fully in English (full text below). And at the end of his address, he warned: "There is no purgatory for war criminals. They go straight to hell, Ambassador."
Russia happens to hold the rotating presidency of the U.N. Security Council, so its ambassador to the U.N., Vassily Nebenzia, was chairing over a litany of charged speeches by member states against Russia.
Kyslytsya said Nebenzia should hand the Security Council presidency over to a "legitimate member."
Here is the full text of the Ukrainian ambassador's Wednesday night address at the U.N. Security Council.
Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya: Distinguished members of the Security Council, Secretary-General, Undersecretary,
Before I try to deliver parts of the statement that I came here with tonight — most of it is already useless, since 10 p.m. New York time — I would like to cite Article 4 of the U.N. Charter. And it says:
Membership in the United Nations is open to all other peace-loving states which accept the obligations contained in the present Charter and, in the judgment of the Organization, are able and willing to carry out these obligations.
Russia is not able to carry out any of the obligations. The ambassador of the Russian Federation three minutes ago confirmed that his president declared a war on my country. So before I read parts of my statement, I would like to avail the presence of the secretary-general and request the secretary-general to distribute among the members of the Security Council and the members of the General Assembly the legal memos by the legal council of the United Nations dated December 1991, and in particular, the legal memo dated 19th of December, 1991. The one that we've been trying to get out of the secretariat for a very long time and were denied to get it.
The Article 4, paragraph 2 of the charter reads:
The admission of any such state to membership in the United Nations will be effected by a decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.
Mr. Secretary-General, please instruct the secretariat to distribute among the members of the Security Council and the members of the General Assembly a decision by the Security Council dated December 1991 that recommends that the Russian Federation can be a member of this organization, as well as a decision by the General Assembly dated December 1991 where the General Assembly welcomes the Russian Federation to this organization.
It would be a miracle if the secretariat is able to produce such decisions.
There is nothing in the Charter of the United Nations about continuity, as a sneaky way to get into the organization.
So when I was coming here an hour ago or so, I was intending to ask the Russian ambassador to confirm, on the record, that the Russian troops will not start firing at Ukrainians today and go ahead with the offensive. It became useless 48 minutes. Because about 48 minutes ago, your president declared war on Ukraine.
So now I would like to ask the ambassador of the Russian Federation to say on the record that at this very moment your troops do not shell and bomb Ukrainian cities, that your troops do not move in the territory of Ukraine.
You have a smartphone, you can call Lavrov right now. We can make a pause to let you go out and call him.
If you are not in a position to give an affirmative answer, the Russian Federation ought to relinquish responsibilities of the president of the Security Council, pass these responsibilities of a legitimate member of the Security Council, a member that is respectful of the charter. And I ask the members of the Security Council to convene an emergency meeting immediately and consider all necessary draft decisions to stop the war.
You declared the war. It is the responsibility of this body to stop the war.
Because it's too late, my dear colleagues, to speak about de-escalation. Too late. The Russian declared the war on the record.
(He raises his smartphone and shakes it, gesturing toward the Russian ambassador.)
Should I play the video of your president? Ambassador, shall I do that right now? You can confirm it.
(The Russian ambassador begins to speak to answer him.)
Do not interrupt me, please. Thank you.
Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia: Then don't ask me questions when you are speaking. Proceed with your statement.
Kyslytsya: Anyway. You declared the war. It is the responsibility of this body to stop the war. So I call on every one of you to do everything possible to stop the war.
Or should I play the video with your president declaring the war?
Thank you very much.
Nebenzia: I must say that I thank the representative of Ukraine for his statement and questions I wasn't planning to answer them, because I've already said all I know at this point. Waking up Minister Lavrov at this time is not something I plan to do. He said the information that we have will be something we provide.
(Later in the meeting)
Kyslytsya: Well as I said, relinquish your duties as the chair. Call Putin, call Lavrov to stop aggression. And I welcome the decision of some members of this council to meet as soon as possible to consider the necessary decision that would condemn the aggression that you will launch on my people. There is no purgatory for war criminals. They go straight to hell. Ambassador.
Nebenzia: I wanted to say in conclusion that we aren't being aggressive against the Ukrainian people, but against the junta that is in power in Kyiv.
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