He made the remarks at a UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine on February 12.
The meeting was initiated by the Russian delegation just the day before, on February 11. Formally, Russians said that the reason to talk about the situation in Ukraine was that exactly four years ago, on this day, the Minsk Agreements were signed. The Ukrainian delegation, in turn, called the Russian initiative a "smoke screen" aimed to divert attention from the upcoming special meeting of the General Assembly on February 20, the day when exactly five years ago the Russian aggression against Ukraine started.
The first of the delegates to be given the floor was Russian Vasily Nebenzya. His speech seemed a summary of Russia Today reports over the last five years, calling the Revolution of Dignity a "coup d'etat," again calling to follow the agreements of February 21, 2014 between Yanukovych and the opposition - five years later - and saying that Ukraine doesn't implement the Minsk agreements, but instead puts all the blame on Russia.
Nebenzya's Russian propaganda talking points were probably the reason why the next speaker, German ambassador to the UN Christoph Heusgen, started his remarks by admitting that "After listening to Vasily Nebenzya there is an impression that it was Ukraine who attacked Russia, not Russia who attacked Ukraine." The German representative's speech was probably the most powerful of the entire meeting. Mr. Heusgen was very direct and used no doublespeak. He said that despite Russian attempts to portray the war in Donbas as a domestic conflict or a civil war, it is, in fact, a direct military invasion by the Russian Federation and it is a quote "Russian soldiers who occupied territories of Ukraine, including Donetsk."
The French representative, Francois Delattre, recalled that Russia's claims of mythical Western arrangements to start the conflict do not make sense. He went on to say that, in fact, present at the table of the Security Council are a country, which is an aggressor, and a country, which is a subject of aggression. Interestingly, these words had not been a part of the prepared script of the French delegation, sent out by the press department. It seems that Mr. Dellatre added the words about the aggressor and the victim right during the meeting, after listening to the Russian representative.
In general, most of the speakers where clearly not on the Russian side. There were some neutral speeches like the one from China or Indonesia, which called for all sides of the conflict to restrain from more violence and seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict. However, none of delegations took the Russian side.
At the end, Ukrainian representative Volodymyr Yelchenko listed dozens of cases when Russia blatantly violated not only the Minsk Agreements, but also international law when it invaded Ukraine and stressed that if Russia wanted to bring peace to Ukraine it would have better stopped talking and started acting in this regard. He also reminded the other delegates of the upcoming special meeting on the situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine which will be held in the General Assembly on February 20.
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