Russia and Ukraine deliver initial remarks to the UN First Committee

The statue outside of The International Disarmament Institute, on Pace University’s NY Campus. The statue outside of The International Disarmament Institute, on Pace University’s NY Campus. National Today / Accessed from

4 October 2022

Two key nations in the General Assembly—Russia and Ukraine—deliver their current stances on the war, situating blame in opposite directions.

On day two of the First Committee’s meetings, the President of the General Assembly emphasized the urgent need for action by members of the UN, “The world is expecting us to act and find tangible solutions in this field.” He urged representatives to give extra attention to “burning” issues, with the Russian-Ukrainian conflict of course ranking at the top of the list. 


The Russian Federation delivered its first statement, acknowledging the situation in Ukraine as a “tragedy” in need of attention while simultaneously labeling it as an issue “transformed by the Western States into a tool to realize their geopolitical ambitions.” The statement went on to explain how the issue ever arose to this extent, arguing that the U.S. and NATO rejected demands to stop the expansion towards Russian borders. Furthermore, it explained that Russia gained evidence that demonstrated Ukraine’s intent to invade and eliminate The Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and The Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR). The Russian Federation’s representative, Mr. Vladimir Yermakov, summarized their actions: “We had no other choice but to lend support to Donetsk and Lugansk – to conduct a special military operation to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine.”


After framing this narrative, he stated that Russian powers are “fully aware” of the responsibility they hold in maintaining stability on a global and regional spectrum. The statement reflected a willingness to engage in discussion about the conflict, but insisted that consideration is given to all parties' legitimate interests. Tying into this request, Mr. Yermakov stated that it was “regrettable” that the 10th Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Conference could not reach consensus. Displacing the blame assigned by other UN members, he explained that the Western States treated this ratification as an opportunity to “settle political scores” and was another demonstration of their “inability to take into account the interests of all participating States.” 


Russia’s statement went on to condemn Iran’s nuclear weapon usage, arguing that establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZ) is crucial in order to pursue non-proliferation agendas. Hypocritically, it neglected to acknowledge Russia’s own threats of nuclear warfare. In another defensive remark, Mr. Yermakov claimed that Russia has “consistently promoted a unifying agenda” and alluded to a resolution proposal titled Strengthening and developing the system of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation agreements.’


During the same day of the debate, Ukraine also delivered its first remarks of the conference. The representative strongly condemned all of Russia’s actions, presenting a much different narrative than what was illustrated in Mr. Yermakov’s preceding statement. Ukraine’s statement emphasized the urgency of the conflict at hand and redirected the blame back to the aggressor: “Due to the actions of the Russian Federation, the whole world today has been put on the brink of a nuclear catastrophe, the consequences of which might be global.” The Ukrainian representative continued to describe how the current threat of nuclear war is higher than ever since the Cold War. 


Furthermore, the statement once again declared sovereignty over numerous regions that have been menaced with invasion, asserting that Ukraine has every right to take military and diplomatic measures in order to maintain territorial control. Russia’s lack of cooperation during the NPT Review Conference was criticized, as it demonstrated a lack of care for the elements within the treaty and a further refusal to accept full responsibility for the ongoing devastation in Ukraine.


The statements delivered by these two key nations provide further context into both sides’ stances on the conflict. Fellow UN states have shown a commitment to combating this issue, hence these remarks will be crucial to keep in mind throughout the upcoming weeks of general debate in order to strategically approach a solution.

by Nicole Piusienski

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