UNITED NATIONS, May 7. /TASS/. At an informal "Arria formula" meeting of the UN Security Council on Friday Russian diplomats presented vast evidence of crimes committed by the Ukrainian military and nationalist groups, which in particular hampered the evacuation of civilian population. Russia's ambassador Vasily Nebenzya stressed that the Ukrainian authorities and their Western sponsors were doing their utmost to prevent this sad truth from coming under the spotlight.
Nebenzya asked his foreign counterparts to pay due attention to the fact that the Ukrainian army repeatedly deployed heavy weapons to residential areas and used civilians as a human shield, which was a violation of international humanitarian law.
"We have enough reasons to believe that all these principles are systematically violated by the Ukrainian army and paramilitaries. There are many eye-witness accounts of how the Ukrainian army uses civilians as hostages and a human shield," he said.
Those present at the meeting were briefed on the Ukrainian army’s tactic of creating fire emplacements inside apartment buildings and civilian infrastructures. Tanks and other armored vehicles are placed on the ground floors, and snipers, man-portable missiles and heavy weapons are stationed on the roof, with peaceful civilians literally sandwiched between them.
Russian diplomats showed video interviews of Ukrainian civilians who had managed to escape from the zone of hostilities. Many testified the Ukrainian army had opened fire on the cars of those trying to use humanitarian corridors for evacuation. A woman resident of Mariupol emphatically dismissed the rumors the Russian army was responsible for the explosion inside Mariupol’s theater.
Several journalists shared with the audience their first-hand impressions of several weeks spent in the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics and territories controlled by the Russian army.
Italian journalist and documentarist Giorgio Bianchi said disinformation and propaganda merely delayed conflict settlement.
"I am a European. I do not wish to see fake news spread about Europe," he said. As an example of such falsehoods, he mentioned the allegations of a Russian strike against the theater in Mariupol.
Bulgarian journalist Asya Zuan, of the News Front news agency, said she had been able to see for herself the people of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics never wished the crisis in Ukraine to grow into war. She urged the authorities of her country to stop doing anything that might cause the conflict to escalate.
The chief of the Lebanese TV broadcaster Al Mayadeen’s bureau in Moscow, Salyam Adil, stressed there was a big difference between one’s perception of events from safe places hundreds of kilometers away from the site of the conflict and what was really happening on the ground. He said the situation was too dramatic to tolerate any attempts at spreading allegations that have nothing to do with the reality.
Some journalists showed their reports and interviews with people in the Donetsk and Lugansk republics, including the city of Mariupol. Each of the interviewees shared personal recollections of how the Ukrainian soldiers and members of the Azov battalion had shelled homes, jeopardized the lives of civilians and deployed weapons in residential areas.
"Today we are not speaking on our own behalf. We are just giving the floor to people who have experienced what was happening there, on the frontline, to let them explain how they survived and who realty committed atrocities there. Every single word you are hearing is theirs, not ours. If you do not want to listen to them, it is a different matter. If staying silent makes you feel you more comfortable - it’s your choice. But the purpose of today’s event is to give a say to those who can testify, and not to spread propaganda," Nebenzya told those representatives of the Western countries who tried to argue that Russia was spreading disinformation.