|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
7269th Meeting (AM)
Penetration of ‘High-energy Objects’ Caused Malaysian Air Crash over Ukraine,
Security Council Told, as Top Envoy Details Findings from Initial Probe
Dutch Foreign Minister Briefs on Safety Board Report
As Member States Debate Results, Conduct of Investigation
With the early results of an investigation into the downing of a Malaysian airline over Ukraine showing that the jet was hit by "high-energy objects”, the priority now was to prevent a repeat of that tragedy, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs told the Security Council this morning.
"Let us honour the victims and console their families by never letting it happen again," said Jeffrey Feltman in a meeting on the Dutch Safety Board’s preliminary investigation report (S/2014/657) on the downing of flight MH17 on 17 July, which caused the deaths of all 298 aboard. Frans Timmermans, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands also briefed on the investigation this morning.
Mr. Feltman said that the report, submitted on 9 September, contained the first factual findings based on the cockpit voice recorder, the flight data recorder, air traffic control data and radar and satellite images. It noted that the aircraft was in "airworthy condition", and had not sent out distress messages that had been detected. It asserted that it broke apart over Ukraine due to penetration by a large number of “high-energy objects from outside the aircraft”.
While the ceasefire between Government and rebel forces in south-eastern Ukraine was holding, he added, the conditions were still not conducive for the investigators’ full and unfettered access to the crash site. He reiterated the Secretary-General's call on all those with influence to exert it immediately, so as to create a propitious security environment for investigators before the near arrival of winter.
He also updated the Council on activities of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which, following the downing of flight MH17, had convened a special Task Force on Risks to Civil Aviation arising from Conflict Zones. ICAO would be convening a high-level safety conference with all of its 191 member States in February 2015, he added.
Foreign Minister Timmermans stressed that his country would not rest until the facts were known and justice was served. Separate from the Safety Board investigation, the Public Prosecution Service had started the largest criminal investigation in Dutch history. “The Netherlands remained fully committed to bringing those responsible for this heinous act to justice,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Safety Board investigation included the participation of Ukraine as the State of Occurrence, Malaysia as the State of Registry, the United States as the State of Manufacture and ICAO. Australia, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Russian Federation and the United Kingdom had also contributed to the investigative team.
He expressed “tremendous respect” for work done by rescue workers, initially people from Ukraine, but said that, regrettably, rescue and investigative operations at the site were suspended on 6 August owing to deteriorating security conditions, and he urged remedial actions by all parties.
He said that the final report on the investigation was expected to be published by summer of 2015. Even though additional access to the crash site was preferable, he added that it was possible to complete the investigation based on other available sources. He underlined the Dutch Safety Board’s commitment to transparency and impartiality, emphasizing its independence. “My Government is committed to the truth and nothing but the truth,” he said.
In addition, he stressed the Netherlands’ commitment to completing the repatriation of the victims’ human remains and personal belongings. At present, 225 of the 298 victims had been identified. Cooperation was ongoing with all concerned countries and international organizations to ensure that all the remains and belongings were brought home.
Following those briefings, Council members and other concerned countries, many of whom lost citizens on flight MH17, took the floor to urge completion of the probe in a comprehensive, impartial and timely manner. All parties were asked to facilitate access to the site and render other information in line with Council resolution 2166 (2014), so that justice was served and similar tragedies prevented.
While most deemed the investigation to be transparent thus far, with Ukraine's representative noting that the investigation had been transferred to the Dutch Safety Board for that purpose, the representative of the Russian Federation disagreed, saying that it was run by a small group of countries and that its preliminary report lacked references to the presence of Ukrainian military elements. Furthermore, he said, the incident had been used in an information war, laying blame on the rebels and targeting the Russian Federation. He called for the Council to ensure an investigation that revealed the truth.
Malaysia’s representative warned that the time to gather evidence was quickly passing, and stressed that it would be totally unacceptable for the families and friends of the victims, after their painful loss, to learn that the perpetrators might not be held to account owing to the international community’s inaction.
Also speaking this morning were the representatives of Australia, Luxembourg, Nigeria, United Kingdom, Chile, Jordan, France, Republic of Korea, Argentina, Chad, Lithuania, China, Rwanda, United States, Canada, Germany, Indonesia. Several delegations made additional interventions.
The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 12:22 p.m.
VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) welcomed the thanks expressed by the Dutch Foreign Minister to the population living around the crash site, noting that it marked a departure from earlier criticism of the locals. Council resolution 2166 (2014) stipulated that the United Nations should participate in a comprehensive, thorough and independent investigation, which was vital to impartiality and transparency. The Council had an important role in resolving the thorny issues cited in the text, however, the Secretariat had made no attempt to demonstrate initiative in assisting investigations, and he, therefore, suggested that a special representative of the Secretary-General might be needed to work with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) mission. The preliminary report of the Dutch Safety Board did not address the circumstances of the crash or refer to resolution 2166 (2014). Moreover, the investigation was not transparent, as promised, but was instead run by a small group of countries and it suffered many delays. There also was no reference to the Ukrainian military, its anti-aircraft system deployments or jet fighters in the area.
Also pursuant to resolution 2166 (2014), he said international investigators were to participate in a unified team to get to the truth about the event. Instead, the incident had been used to exacerbate international tensions, with public statements laying blame on the rebels and targeting the Russian Federation. In addition to that "information war", pronouncements sought to pre-determine the result of investigations. Of all the countries asked to provide information, the Russian Federation was the only to have provided everything available. A list of questions that needed to be answered was also presented by the Ukrainian side. Most, including the more important ones, had not been answered. An impartial investigation would have to address them, and with that, he called for the disclosure of information that supposedly proved separatist involvement and insisted on transparency going forward.
JULIE BISHOP, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, recalled resolution 2166 (2014), which condemned the shooting down of the commercial flight and demanded that armed groups desist from compromising the site and ensure the investigators’ safe access. It had also called on the Russian Federation to use its influence with the rebels to allow those conditions to occur. Ukraine had moved quickly to pave the way for an international investigation and had provided support, despite the ongoing conflict, while the rebels prevented access at times. Experts had spent six days at the site, in the midst of the conflict, but the security conditions had become too dangerous for them to continue their work. Still, those efforts had produced a successful investigation. She commended the Dutch Government for its strong leadership and its efforts to identify the victims; to date, 225 had been identified, including Australian citizens. Still, progress had been slow due to the circumstances of the crash.
Welcoming the preliminary report released earlier in September, she stressed that it did not attribute blame, which was the role of the multi-international criminal investigation being led by the Dutch Government. The preliminary report stated that a surface-to-air missile. had shot down the commercial flight. She called for investigators to be able to return to in order to continue their work. She also expressed deep concern about the recent shelling of OSCE investigators on their way to the site and the threats of violence by armed groups against them. The security conditions both at the site and in much of eastern Ukraine was the result of Russian support to armed separatist groups. That must cease, she said, noting that the resolution had called for those responsible to be held accountable. "This must happen," she insisted.
JEAN ASSELBORN, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs of Luxembourg, said the resolution had been adopted in line with international aviation laws. He was confident that the Ukrainian's leadership would ensure a full investigation, as well as about the credible work that had resulted in the preliminary report. Deploring the prevention of access to the site by armed groups, he stressed that precious time had been lost. At the same time, it was encouraging that the Russian Federation was firmly committed to the investigation and access to the site, and that it stated it would be acting along those lines. Those responsible must be held to account, as the shooting down of the aircraft could be considered a war crime. "We owe this to the victims and loved ones that justice be served," he stated, calling for an urgent end to the conflict in Ukraine.
U. JOY OGWU ( Nigeria) commended the work of the Dutch investigators, who had been very successful in producing the report, despite the challenges of the difficult security environment. Further investigation would offer a more conclusive outcome, which was essential to eliminate doubt and provide the basis for accountability and justice in line with resolution 2166 (2014). A solution to the broader crisis in Ukraine was also needed, he said, noting that President Petro Poroshenko had made several concessions to separatists. He looked forward to an improved situation on the ground that would allow a return of investigators to the area. Perseverance was needed to ensure the process led to a logical conclusion.
MARK LYALL GRANT ( United Kingdom) said that, despite its limited mandate, the report had reached clear conclusions. It ruled out operational or technical causes and reported damage consistent with penetration of the aircraft by several high-energy objects. That led to only one conclusion: that the aircraft was ”hit by a blast fragmentation warhead", such as those typically fitted to surface-to-air missiles. The report did not attribute culpability, but outlined evidence that pointed to separatist forces being responsible. The Russian Federation had questions to answer and their assertions about Ukrainian culpability were "sham arguments that attempt to distort the facts". The claim that a Ukrainian SU-25 aircraft had shot down the airliner was wrong because the damage to the plane was inconsistent with that. Russian claims were "pure fiction" and there was no evidence of unusual activity in the management of flights in the area. Claims against the Dutch Safety Board's independence and impartiality were also untrue. The Board was an independent organization and was assisted by experts from 12 aviation agencies, including from the Russian Federation. The preliminary report met international standards and practices and set out areas for further analysis.
CRISTIAN BARROS ( Chile) reaffirmed the unequivocal message of resolution 2166 (2014) regarding the need for a full, exhaustive and independent investigation in accordance with international law. The preliminary report was the first fruit of that endeavour. More investigation was needed to shed full light on what had happened. It was necessary to determine what kind of projectile had hit the aircraft and its characteristics, in order to be able to trace the object and determine responsibility for that heinous attack. The Security Council should also continue to study the event. He welcomed dialogue begun with the separatists, as well as the ceasefire, adding that he was pleased it had not included amnesty for the perpetrators of the attack. He urged all States to cooperate with the appropriate authorities, and on the conflicting parties to allow unimpeded access.
DINA KAWAR ( Jordan) said that the technical results of the report showed that the airline had been struck by a missile. It was critical to find out if that had been deliberate or not. She called on all parties to cooperate and to allow unfettered access to the site, in order to identify perpetrators and hold them accountable. Any complacency would endanger air flights around the world. The situation was a legal issue and should not be used for political advantages by any party. She also called upon all armed groups to end the violence and show credibility with respect to the provisions of the ceasefire. A political and diplomatic solution was the only way to bring about an honourable exit from the crisis.
ALEXIS LAMEK (France), noting that Ukraine had fulfilled its responsibility to ensure a full investigation that included eliciting help from international experts, said that he looked forward to the final report and called upon all parties to cooperate with the investigations. The conclusions of the preliminary report were serious, as they eliminated technical errors and raised the hypothesis of a surface-to-air missile being aimed at a commercial flight. That was of great concern, including because such weapons might be falling into the hands of armed groups. The separatists had not cooperated with Ukrainian authorities, in violation of the Council’s resolution and the agreement made by the Contact Group and the leaders. "That lack of cooperation speaks volumes more than the speeches" by the separatists, he declared. The separatists had been armed without thought about the consequences. The ceasefire must be respected. However, the silencing of weapons was only the first step towards a political solution. There must be a halt of arms flows to separatists by the Russian Federation, the establishment of a durable ceasefire, border control and a search for political dialogue. The Russian Federation had a responsibility that it could not ignore.
PAIK JI-AH ( Republic of Korea) said the resolution had expressed the united voice of the Security Council over the need for a transparent investigation. She was confident in the credibility and independence of the investigators, as well as in their ability. It was essential to establish the solid facts of the incident and bringing those responsible to justice, which required safe access to the crash site. She hoped that the horrible incident would lead to further efforts to ensure civil aviation safety. To resolve the conflict in Ukraine, an inclusive political process was vital, and she welcomed the progressive steps taken by the Ukrainian Government, which could provide a sound basis for agreements.
MARIO OYARZÁBAL ( Argentina) welcomed the preliminary report into the disaster, taking note of its initial conclusions, and looked forward to the final report, as that would establish what had led to the downing of the aircraft and possible criminal responsibility. If criminal responsibility was found, the perpetrators must be held responsible. Safe, secure and unhindered access to the crash site was needed to ensure a full and proper investigation. Fighting in Ukraine was the ultimate cause of the disaster. Continued violence was worrying, especially the increase in civilian casualties. A peaceful settlement was needed, he said, adding that the Memorandum of Understanding between Russian Federation, Ukraine and OSCE was a positive step and the basis on which all parties should negotiate.
BANTE MANGARAL ( Chad) noted that the current report was based on preliminary investigations and that conclusions could change as the investigation progressed. He welcomed the identification of bodies to allow a dignified burial, and noted that the report referenced damage to the airliner that suggested it had been hit by high-energy objects. Investigations should continue in order to assign responsibility. Since August, efforts to ensure the security of the crash site had been taken to ensure that investigations continued. Despite President Poroshenko's peace plan, violations of the ceasefire occurred daily. Supporting the move to grant more autonomy to Lugansk and Donetsk, he called for restraint and increased efforts to find a political solution to the crisis.
RAIMONDA MURMOKAITĖ ( Lithuania) said that all attempts to interfere with, influence, or put pressure on the investigation were totally unacceptable. International experts must be able to carry out their work free from political pressures and attempts to sway the results. It was concerning that access to the crash site was intermittent and in the hands of the pro-Russian insurgents. Those illegal armed groups carried full responsibility for the successful completion of the probe. While some cast doubt on the independence and integrity of the preliminary investigation, creeping invasion on Ukraine continued, with Russian “aid” convoys crossing Ukraine’s borders. An undeclared war against the sovereign State of Ukraine was at the root of the tragedy of MH17. The ultimate responsibility lay with those who, driven by the dangerous ambition to redraw the borders of modern Europe, continued to fuel that war.
WANG MIN ( China) called for cooperation by all parties to ensure an objective and verifiable investigation. Objectively speaking, he noted that the continuous improvement in the Ukraine was due to the smooth conduct of the international investigation. The Minsk ceasefire was welcome and was in the long-term interest of the Ukrainian people. He voiced hope that, in the next phase, the parties concerned would continue the efforts of the Minsk agreement. Meanwhile, inclusive dialogue must be sustained towards a political solution, taking into consideration the concerns of all stakeholders.
OLIVIER NDUHUNGIREHE ( Rwanda) noted the preliminary report, pointing out that there was little doubt that the commercial flight had been shot down. Not all victims had been identified or returned to their home countries, and he called upon all parties to ensure that all victims returned home for proper burial. It was important that the criminal investigations begin exponentially so that those responsible be held accountable. Welcoming the Minsk ceasefire, he expressed regret at the continued fighting, which was hampering the investigation. He urged armed groups to lay down their arms and to respect the sovereign integrity of Ukraine, noting that the authorities had demonstrated good will towards an inclusive dialogue and a political solution through several initiatives in the eastern part of the country.
SAMANTHA POWER ( United States) recalled that the preliminary report established that the flight had been brought down by missile. Therefore, the Russian Federation's claims, including that it had been brought down by a Ukrainian fighter plane, had been refuted. That country's real intention was to discredit the preliminary report. Furthermore, the armed separatists had prevented and then restricted access to international investigators, which contradicted the stated goal of a transparent investigation. In addition, the Russian Federation had said that the report had not contained facts. Yet, that country had not shown a "track record" of establishing facts, having repeatedly misled the world about its support to the armed separatists.
She pointed to the transcripts of the past 24 Security Council meetings on the subject, where the Russian Federation denied arming separatists or that it had deployed troops to eastern Ukraine. If the Russian Federation had evidence of who shot down the commercial flight, it had a responsibility to share that with investigators. It was time for that country to bring its intervention to an end, and support a political solution to the crisis. At the same time, she supported the reduction of Russian troops in the area, even though that country had denied that those troops were there. Ukraine's sovereign integrity must be respected. The Ukrainian authorities were making efforts towards a political solution. It was time that the Russian Federation now show a commitment, as well, including by granting Ukraine control over its own borders and allowing conditions for OSCE monitors to fulfil their mandate in the investigation.
DATO SRI ANIFAH AMAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, said that a sustained ceasefire, particularly in eastern Ukraine, was crucial to enable a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident, as demanded by Council resolution 2166 (2014). Immediately after the downing of MH17, his Government was clear about its priorities — recovery of the remains of the victims; recovery of flight data and cockpit voice recorders; and guarantees for the safe access of international investigators to the crash site. The first two had been implemented, but the third had not yet been possible due to the ongoing fighting in and around the site. To date, 225 of the 298 victims had been identified. Of the 43 Malaysian victims, 40 had been identified and 35 of them had been repatriated.
He said that the preliminary report of the team led by the Dutch Safety Board confirmed that the aircraft was flying in unrestricted space and at the altitude prescribed by air traffic control authorities. There was no indication of technical problems or of actions by the crew that could have contributed to the crash. It also concluded that MH17 had been hit by a large number of high-energy objects, causing the aircraft to disintegrate in the air. But crucial questions remained, including who was responsible for downing the aircraft and what exactly happened when communication between MH17 and air traffic control officers abruptly stopped.
Last week, he went on, a high-level Malaysian delegation had visited Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the Netherlands, and it had secured renewed commitment and assurances from the Ukrainian and Russian Governments to assist in facilitating safe passage to the wreckage site. He hoped that such assurances could be translated into concrete action as soon as possible. Time was of the essence. The approaching winter could severely hamper recovery and investigation efforts. “ Malaysia will not rest until justice is done,” he said. It would be totally unacceptable for the families and friends of the victims to experience the unimaginable pain of losing their loved ones only to learn that the perpetrators might not be held to account due to “our inaction”.
YURIY SERGEYEV ( Ukraine) stressed the importance of finding the perpetrators of the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 and bringing them to justice. He described Ukraine's cooperation and transparency since the crash, noting that the right to investigate it had been transferred to the Dutch Safety Board following the Council’s adoption of resolution 2166 (2014), to ensure a fully independent and transparent investigation. The representative of the Russian Federation had referred to late submission of air traffic control data by the Ukrainian Government, but that was incorrect. Data from several control centres detailing communications with MH17 had been submitted immediately and the materials to which the delegate was referring related to an additional request for information made by the Dutch Safety Board.
The preliminary report had concluded that external factors had caused the crash, he said, drawing the link between that and the idea that a surface-to-air missile had downed the aircraft. As the Russian Federation was sending powerful air defence systems to separatists, he believed the plane was downed by a Russian missile fired by Russian-backed mercenaries. The tragedy would not have occurred if militants had not had access to military equipment supplied by the Russian Federation. That country continued to deny that it was supplying weapons and it continued to speak out against bloodshed, but it also continued to supply material support and shell Ukrainian territory. The Russian Federation had implemented none of the provisions of the Minsk Protocol and there had been 480 violations so far of the ceasefire by separatists and the Russian Federation, resulting in the deaths of two Ukrainians and the wounding of more than 100.
MICHAEL GRANT ( Canada) said that the tragedy was but one of many examples of the costs of the Russian Federation’s reckless behavior in Ukraine, where more than 3,000 had died since Russian-sponsored violence had erupted in April. Its actions there undermined the most basic norms of international conduct, posed a grave threat, not only to Eastern European security, but also to the rules-based international system. He looked forward to the final report of the international investigation team, as well as to the outcome of the work under way at the International Civil Aviation Organization. The need for answers, for justice, and for respect of the grieving friends and family members of the victims, including one Canadian, should unite all Member States in support of those efforts.
HEIKO THOMS ( Germany) said that it was outrageous that investigations on the ground and the repatriation of human remains were still being hampered by armed separatist groups. That was a clear violation of resolution 2166 (2014) and a slap in the face of the victims and this Council. He urged the Russian Federation to end fully and unconditionally its military activities on or directed against Ukrainian territory, to halt the continuing flow of weapons and fighters across the border and to take a constructive role in stabilizing Ukraine. He also called for the full reintegration of eastern Ukraine into Ukraine’s State structures and the full respect for its sovereignty and territorial integrity, condemning the illegal annexation of Crimea, which his country would never recognize.
DESRA PERCAYA (Indonesia) said that the Security Council needed to continue its support and strong commitment in implementing resolution 2166 (2014), underscoring that the flight had been flying in an unrestricted airspace above the restricted area as defined by the aviation authority and that the aircraft had been in airworthy condition at departure. While progress in ensuring the international team’s access to the site was still “lacking”, he voiced support for the Dutch Safety Board’s intention to conduct further investigation if the opportunity arose. The investigation must include unrestricted access to the immediate site and the safety and security of the team must be ensured. He also called for those responsible to be held accountable.
The representative of the Russian Federation, taking the floor for a second time, said that it was somewhat strange that there was no reference to the resolution in the report. "We are not experts," he said, but pointed out that everyone present knew what to do to ensure such a tragedy did not happen again. Commercial flights should not fly into conflict areas and should not be shot down. He was not suggesting a new commission, but his delegation had questions it wanted to convey to the Commission and other actors in the investigation. He also noted some "strange comments" made today, including that rebels had attempted to hide evidence, as stated by Ukraine, and by the United States, that rebels said " Moscow wants the black box". Why, then, did the black box end up in London? "We should thank the rebels for ensuring the safety of the black boxes," he added.
Pointing to the 10 days that the site had been blocked to investigators, he said that after adoption of resolution 2166 (2014), security issues had been raised. The Russian Federation had been ready to adopt a resolution immediately, but Australia and the Netherlands had chosen another route. Why did talks with Ukraine take 10 days, he asked, adding that his country had been ready to do everything in its power to ensure investigators’ access to the site.
Regarding comments about rebels controlling the site, he said that Kyiv’s actions were responsible for the security issue. If security was not upheld, the Russian Federation was not to blame; the co-sponsors of the resolution were. Among other comments, including concerning the movement and location of both Ukrainian armed forces and rebel forces, he said that the preliminary report did not say it had been a rocket that had shot down the airline, nor did it say there were no military aircraft in the area. Pointing to questions raised by Germany, he noted that it could have been a rocket system belonging to the Ukrainians. The Council was not the place for various hypotheses, but for clarifications.
The representative of the United States took to the floor for a second time, saying she had only one response to the representative of the Russian Federation: the Russian Federation was fighting in Ukraine, it had supplied equipment and it had trained separatists. It had no standing to offer advice on the investigation and had no credibility within the Council.
Taking the floor again, the representative of the Russian Federation said that the President did not have the right to judge the status of the Russian Federation on the Security Council. Even if everything the representative of the United States had said was true, that had nothing to do with the investigation into the downed flight.
Also taking the floor again, the representative of the Ukraine said that when he found out that the initiative to launch the meeting had come from the Russian Federation, he wondered why. Having heard the Russian representative's denials, rhetoric and blame for everyone else, he was reminded of the phrase "a guilty mind is never at ease".
Also making a further statement was the representative of the United Kingdom, who said that, the fact that the Russian Federation had made several Security Council statements on the Ukraine crisis that had proven untrue, it was relevant to make a note of that in the current context. All the statements made by the Russian Federation representative on their troops, and on supplying and training separatists had been demonstrated to be false. Turning to the investigation itself, he said that the representative of the Russian Federation had recently told the press that he would "have to conclude that a real international investigation did not take place". If that was not an effort to undermine the investigation, he did not know what was.
Taking the floor for a second time as well, the representative of Lithuania said she was struck by the fact that all the countries that had lost citizens had also expressed their full support for the Dutch investigation, with none of them doubting its integrity. If those with direct stake in the outcome of the probe were satisfied, why would a State with no apparent stake in its outcome wish to discredit it? Claims that the investigation was flawed harmed real people who had lost loved ones and who hoped for clarity and justice. The Security Council should not add grief to those who had already lost their dear ones. Speculating about the process and the credibility of the investigation, and encumbering it with additional requirements hampered justice.
The representative of the Russian Federation, in a further intervention, questioned why it was a surprise that his country had convened the meeting. It was the Russian Federation that was blamed for the incident, after all. Regarding the statement made by the representative of the United Kingdom, he asked the delegate to review Security Council transcripts and find the examples of untruth.
The representative of Australia, taking the floor a second time, said that the Russian Federation had called for a transparent and accountable investigation and that it was participating in it now. Resolution 2166 (2014) did not create the investigation; it supported it. The probe was ensured by the Chicago Convention. Her country wanted full access to the site and a cessation of violence. It was in the Russian Federation's power to call off the separatists. "Let's get on with it," she urged, as she called for access to the site, a durable ceasefire and the continuation of the investigation, which had been established as independent and impartial by the countries involved and the United Nations.
The representative of the Russian Federation said that the meeting was finally ending on a positive note with the call for investigators to return to the site. However, his country had attempted everything possible to ensure proper security in the area, but Kyiv needed to secure the area and the Council needed to tell Kyiv to not shell. They were still reducing security in that area, he said.
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