Distinguished Madam President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of Ukraine, I congratulate Madam President on the election as
President of the 73rd session of the General Assembly.

We support outlined priorities and are ready to do our share in translating them
into reality.

Our deliberations are taking place at a defining moment for the Organization.
Despite the universal appeal for peace and declared commitment to uphold it,
wars and armed conflicts remain our reality.

Conflicts are the main reason for the rise in refugees and displaced persons
worldwide to the unprecedented figure of 65.5 million.

Since no peace means no development, hundreds of millions are doomed to

The international security environment seemed rock-solid· less than two
decades ago. Now it has descended into a volatile and increasingly disturbing
state where both traditional and hybrid threats are challenging stability of our

Too often lofty rhetoric on peace, respect for international law, and
commitment to human rights remains just that- rhetoric, nice sounding words,
politically correct messages, whichi however, are not backed by concrete

We· may become tempted to talk about achievements or grand plans for the

However, from our perspective, addressing fundamental problems that the UN
and the international community as a whole face is much more important.
We shall never forget that the raison d’etre of this Organization is to "save
succeeding generations from the scourge of war".

Madam President,

Unfortunately, my fellow citizens have become a part of that one-fifth of the
world population who is experiencing the horrors of war.

As I deliver my speech, reports have brought a sad news about another
human life just lost on the frontlines of the war inflicted upon my country by
the permanent member of the UN Security Council.

Yesterday, and the day before, several families, again, were struck by grief, as
their loved ones perished under Russia’s hostile attacks.

Moscow turns Ukrainian to orphans.

lt tortures our patriots in its prisons.

Over 1.5 million people became internally displaced persons.

They still can’t return to their homes.

Russia constantly multiplies the human tragedy, which lately received a new
dimension: ecological.

lt poisons the Ukrainian soil and causes an environmental disaster not only in
the occupied Crimea, but in Donbas as well.

This has been a daily reality for Ukrainians for four years now. Thousands of
deaths, destruction, displacement and human suffering.

For my fellow citizens, these years have become a tremendous challenge- a
test for their determination and solidarity, resilience and faith.

Let us not forget what this war is about.

Ukraine made a sovereign decision to live its way and promote the Free World
based on democratic values and rules.

Russia punishes Ukraine for this decision.

lt kills. lt ruins homes. lt lies on industrial scale.

lt pretends that Ukraine, as well as Georgia "attacked themselves".

Do we know which neighbor of Russia will "attack itself" next?

Or will the world be "comfortably numb" in a hope that "the next one won’t
be me"?

As we defend Ukraine’s land and our free choice, as we counter the res urging
neo-imperialist power willing to divide the world anew- we defend the Free

The UN shall not be silent, when the values and principles rooted in its Charter
and the entire body of international law are being violated by a veto country.

This is not just a challenge, but our chance to make the United Nations
relevant and to make the motto of this Assembly session work.

Madam President,

How did such a deterioration in the world affairs happen?

Many assumed that the respect for peace and international law is a constant

Developments on international stage over the last decade have seriously
undermined this confidence.

Appeasement and quick fixes to difficult problems have proven to be a false

lt has proven that staying comfortably silent when international norms are
breached does not stop but encourages the. offender to continue its
destructive policies.

Your silence is exactly what the Kremlin weaponizes against Ukraine and,
ultimately, against all of us!

lt’s na"ive to believe that safe shores will always be around.

There will be no safe shores, shall we allow someone to feel that HE is not bound
by any norms or restrictions. That HE has a right to reshape the international
system to his liking. That HIS interests are more legitimate than ours.

In the absence of a strong and united reaction, such extremely irresponsible and
selfish actor resorts to the tactic of further escalation, creating new crises,
raising the stakes, blackmailing other countries and even entire international

All in an effort "to get away with murder".

We shall not allow this to happen. We shall bring the world back on track.
What is the cure?

In one word: responsibility.

The international community’s ability to ensure systemic and inevitable
responsibility for each and every violation of international laws - first and
foremost norms and principles of the UN Charter- is the benchmark indicating
how successful we, as the family of nations, can be in achieving common goals.
Ensuring responsibility is never an easy feat.

Let me be clear on this point: Nothing will stop Moscow from continuing its
aggressive expansionist policies if it does not face a united stand of the
international community, if punishment for its actions does not become

lt is due to the lack of relevant punishment that after Georgia· came Ukraine,
that after Lytvinenko came Skrypals, that after Aleppo came ldlib ...

Kremlin has no intention to stop. After occupation of Crimea, it aims now at
occupation of the Sea of Azov between Ukraine and Russia.

Having illegally constructed a bridge across the Kerch Strait, Russia launched a
systematic disruption of freedom of international navigation through the Kerch
Strait for Ukrainian and foreign ships.

Such brutal actions must be rejected as illegal, including under the UN
Convention on the Law of the Sea. They require a strong response, including an
enhanced sanctions policy and other targeted measures.

Efficiency of international actions often falls short of expectations and the
relevance of the United Nations itself is questioned.

We must admit that the responsibility for fixing the current state of affairs rests
with all of us collectively and each of us individually.

If we are committed to building peacefut equitable and sustainable societies,
we protect the UN Charter, uphold its norms and principles, take resolute action
to restore justice.

Let me say it more precisely - the beautiful language of the Charter worth
nothing if it is not enforced. No more words, time for deeds!

The United Nations must gain momentum as there are continued attempts to
ruin the rules-based international order and revise internationally recognized
state borders by force.

This dangerous slide towards the world with no civilized rules has to be stopped.
In this regard, there is a need to revitalize and strengthen the role of the General
Assembly in the sphere of international peace and security.

With conflicts spreading, we have to ensure maximum flexibility and
comprehensiveness of the agenda of the General Assembly, which is the only
inclusive and chief policy-making forum.

That is why Ukraine introduced the item "The situation in the temporarily
occupied territories of Ukrainen in the agenda of the current session· of the
General Assembly.

Member States should be provided with every possibility for in-depth
considerations of all urgent situations that require attention of the international

As outlined by the General Assembly President, we have to "facilitate quick and
effective responses of the General Assembly to emergency situations".
Ukraine, as one of Vice-Presidents of the 73rd session, stands ready to contribute
to that.

As Member States, we "conferred on the Security Council the primary
responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security".
What shall we do if a veto holding member of the Security Council uses this right
not to help international peace and stability, but to help itself escape from

lt is time to say that the abuse of veto right is a brake that often does not
allow our Organization to really act.

We believe that the progress on the Security Council reform will be an important
contribution to the ongoing UN-wide change.

We support launching text-based talks within the Intergovernmental
Negotiations and are ready to engage constructively in this process.

We also expect that the ongoing reform of the peace and security pillar
envisaged by the Secretary-General, with the support of the General Assembly,
would contribute to the speed and abilities of the Organization to react to the
emerging threats to international peace and security.

Ukraine fully shares the approach of the Secretary-General on the peacekeeping
activity of the Organization within his concept of the "Action for Peacekeeping
(A4P)". lt is a timely opportunity for Member States and the UN leadership to
consider measures leading to effecting real changes in the UN. peacekeeping.

The very same peacekeeping that Ukraine has been asking the· UN to deploy on
its territory since April 2015, when I addressed my request, supported by the
Parliament of Ukraine, to the President of the Security Council, to the President
of the General Assembly and to the UN Secretary-General.

After the failure of the UN to prevent aggression against Ukraine, we still hoped
that the UN would help settling the conflict by· deploying an UN-mandated
multinational peacekeeping force in the occupied Donbas.

A mission, with a strong mandate and broad responsibilities to help bring peace
on the Ukrainian soil. Rather than to freeze the conflict or cement the presence
of the aggressor and its proxies in Donbas.

We firmly count on further progress on this important issue.

After all, and perfectly in line with the topic of this General Debate - Making
the United Nations relevant to all people - it is through such a UN Security
Council-mandated PKO that the UN would save countless lives and prevent
further sufferings.

Madam President,

We remain as determined as ever to keep defending every inch of our territory
against the aggression. At the same time, we will continue exploring all available
means to end the conflict peacefully and restore the territorial integrity of

Let me stress- Ukraine has always put legal and diplomatic means of conflict
resolution first.

We have prioritized multilateralism, by turning for support of the United
Nations, OSCE, the Council of Europe and other international organizations,
fora and mechanisms. And we will continue along that path.

Moscow shall feel the strength of the rule of international law.

We initiated several legal cases against the Russian side in international courts.
On some of them we have already achieved important results.

In particular, in the beginning of 2017 the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
ordered Russia to lift the ban on activities on Mejlis- representative body of
Cri mean Tatars in the occupied Crimea.

However, Russia continues to ignore the ruling demonstrating its disregard
not only to its international obligations but to the Court as well.

Another important element of our case in the ICJ it is the downing of MH17
in 2014 and the role of the Russian Federation in this tragedy.

lt is important that Australia and the Netherlands recently joined Ukraine in
its efforts to bring Russia to account.

The international community repeatedly calls Russia to acknowledge its
responsibility and change its destructive behaviour in Ukraine and elsewhere.
We know that following the legal path is a lengthy process, but we are confident
that at the end it will allow us to achieve justice.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

lt has been almost four years since Russia’s attempted annexation and illegal
occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol.

Under Russian occupation, Crimea has turned into a military stronghold
threatening security and stability in the entire wider Black Sea region.
We believe that increasing militarization of Crimea deserves the General
Assembly’s close attention and prompt reaction.

Russia’s aggressive policies as well as its arrogance in using lethal weapons
multiply the threat.

In this regard, Ukraine counts on your active support for the relevant
resolution during this session.

Since the first day of the illegal occupation of Crimea, Crimean Tatars and
ethnic Ukrainians have faced repressions and discrimination. There are many
cases of murders, tortures, harassment and arrests under fabricated charges.

The list of hostages and victims of the Russian occupation regime in Crimea is
getting longer almost every day.

The Ukrainian and Cri mean Tatar identities seem to be a criminal offence in
today’s reality of the occupied peninsula.

Cri mean farmer Volodymyr Balukh was arrested and sentenced to 5 years in
prison for raising a Ukrainian flag upon his private residence.

Cri mean film director Oleg Sentsov remains behind the bars in a remote penal
colony in northern Russia serving a 20-years prison term on fabricated

Both Oleg and Volodymyr are balancing between life and death as they
remain on a hunger strike.

I highly appreciate a remarkable manifestation of support and unity
throughout the world to seek freedom for these brave persons.

Unfortunately, Kremlin remains blind and deaf to these appeals of the
international community and many of Russia’s intellectuals.

I call upon UN Member States to strengthen their efforts in demanding
respect for human rights in the temporarily occupied Crimea through the
adoption of the respective UNGA resolution.

There are also dozens of Ukrainians held by the occupants in Donbas since
the beginning of Russian aggression in 2014.

Ukrainian soldier Serhii Glondar has never seen his youngest daughter, as he
has been held captive for three and a half years.

All Ukrainian proposals to exchange the Russian citizens convicted for crimes
against our sovereignty and territorial integrity for the Ukrainian citizens held
as political prisoners by Kremlin remained unanswered.

lt’s just another side of Russia’s recklessness: first sending and inciting own
citizens to this war- and simply abandoning them afterwards.

This is the thing about today’s Russia: they don’t care.

They don’t care about suffering.

They don’t care about truth.

They don’t care about law.

They think that their military might and status in the UN give them this right.
lt’s up to us to prove them wrong.

lt’s up to us to MAKE THEM CARE.

Otherwise what’s the idea of us being here?

Otherwise what’s the difference between the era before the UN and with the

In a broader context, Ukraine has always considered protection of human
rights as one of the cornerstones of the UN activities.

Sustainable peace and security cannot be achieved in isolation from human

We therefore support the efforts to bring back human rights issues to the UN
Security Council and to promote close cooperation among all relevant UN
bodies in this area.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

My country is delivering on its commitments under the 2030 Agenda for
Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Ukraine’s economy grew in the second quarter of 2018 at a 3.8% annual rate.

This marks the tenth straight quarter of growth that is a clearly sustainable
trend. The GDP increase was helped by macroeconomic stabilization,
improved investment climate and clean-up of the banking sector.

Ukraine is demonstrating the best dynamics in growth among the emerging

Despite heavy security and defense expenses totaling more than 6% of its
GDP, Ukraine is undergoing fundamental transformations on social economic
and political tracks.

We have consistently implemented progressive reforms - rangmg from .
judicial, education, healthcare, public administration reforms to carrying out
decentralization and fighting corruption.

In 2019-2021, Ukraine will take over an important responsibility as member
of the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Based on its extensive recent experience, my country looks forward to using
its membership to strengthen the role of the Council in following-up and
reviewing 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals, particularly
when it comes to conflict and post-conflict settings.

Among 17 Sustainable Development Goals Ukraine particularly welcomes the
UN initiatives aimed at reducing global hunger.

Today, when more than 850 million people in the world are starving, my
country cannot stand idle and is ready to offer the world its help in addressing
the issue of food security.

Ukraine, like nobody, knows the price of this tragedy.

This November we will mark 85th Anniversary of one of the deadliest crimes
of the 20th century- the crime of Holodomor, mass starvation in Ukraine
artificially organized by the Stalinist regime. lt took lives of several millions of

In this regard, I would like to renew my appeal to the Assembly to mark one
of the biggest tragedies in human history by adopting a dedicated declaration.

Madam President,

Our Organization is only as strong as we want and allow it to be.

Therefore, our full support and strong political will are required to ensure that
the United Nations remains relevant in today’s uncertain and turbulent times.

Relevant, as you rightly put it in the theme of this debate, to all people.
lt is our mission and shared responsibility to empower the United Nations to
do what is expected of the Organization.

To do it through our global leadership based on shared values- freedom, the
rule of law and tolerance.

Thank you for your attention.