Ukraine: Not since the founding of the United Nations in 1945 has there been such a moment as today – when 193 member states will, or ought, re-energize Hope while under threat of nuclear annihilation.
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as the Republic of Moldova, Georgia, San Marino, Andorra and Monaco align themselves with this statement.
Let me start by expressing the EU’s full solidarity and support to Ukraine and its people, who are courageously fighting an unprovoked and unjustified military aggression from Russia.
Since our GA meeting last week, the situation has dramatically escalated, despite tireless diplomatic efforts including at the highest levels. Russia has decided to turn its back to peace, to the rules-based international order as defined inter alia in the UN Charter, to diplomacy and to the international community. Russia’s military attack against Ukraine has already caused an alarming number of deaths, injured, IDPs and refugees.
We condemn in the strongest possible terms the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by armed forces of the Russian Federation in violation of Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. We also condemn the involvement of Belarus in this aggression against Ukraine. We urge both Russia and Belarus to abide by their international obligations.
We are also alarmed by Russia’s raising of the nuclear alert level. We call on Russia to de-escalate and to immediately return to the previous alert level of its nuclear arsenal and to avoid any actions that could risk the safety or security of the nuclear power plants in Ukraine, a non-nuclear weapon State under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Russia bears full responsibility for this aggression and the resulting loss of life and destruction. We demand from Russia to cease its military operations immediately and unconditionally and to withdraw all forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders. We further call on Russia to engage in earnest in dialogue with a view to a political and diplomatic solution.
Russia’s actions grossly violate international law and are in clear breach of the UN Charter and the OSCE Helsinki Final Act, as well as Russia’s specific commitments to
respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity under the Budapest Memorandum of
1994. This is arguably the biggest aggression in Europe since the end of the Second World War. It follows similar Russian aggression against its neighbours in 2008 and 2014. We underscore our firm support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and the Republic of Moldova and are closely monitoring the situation in region.
This Assembly has a responsibility immediately and effectively to acknowledge and address Russia’s actions. Failing to do so will erode trust in the rules-based global order with the UN at its core and the UN Charter itself. It would send the wrong message to perpetrators of such aggression and heightensimilar risks to other UN member states in the region and beyond.
We stand firmly by Ukraine and its people. We deplore the loss of life and human suffering. This is a dire humanitarian catastrophe and humanitarian needs are rapidly increasing. With the toll of IDPs and refuges rising, humanitarian support is a priority in the wider package of EU support offered to Ukraine in these trying days.
The EU and its Member States are providing urgently needed humanitarian assistance to the Ukrainian population. Ukraine has activated the Union Civil Protection Mechanism and is receiving urgently needed supplies from EU Member States. In addition, the Republic of Moldova – to which more than 56.000 Ukrainians have fled – has requested and received EU humanitarian support in dealing with the human catastrophe caused deliberately by the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine.
We call on Russia and Russia-backed armed formations to respect international law, including international humanitarian law. Civilians and civilian infrastructures must be protected and humanitarian access should be secured. We call on Russia and Russia-backed armed formations to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access and to stop their disinformation campaign and cyber-attacks. We strongly condemn the involvement of Belarus in this aggression against Ukraine and call on it to immediately stop such action and to abide by its international obligations
We recall our unwavering support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders and call on all UN members not to recognise the two self-proclaimed separatist entities. The EU has reacted swiftly and decisively to Russia’s recognition of Ukraine’s self-proclaimed separatist entities and the invasion of Ukraine by adopting restrictive measures. We intend to take such measures against Belarus.
Let us be clear on this. We firmly believe that the use of force and coercion to change borders has no place in the 21st century. Let us recall that the UN Charter prohibits both, the threat and the use of force, against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations. Tensions and conflict should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy. The EU together with like-minded partners have been united in making unprecedented efforts to achieve a diplomatic solution. But Russia has not reciprocated these efforts and instead opted unilaterally for a grave and premeditated escalation. With this one-sided step Russia is further isolating itself.
We are today at a crucial and historical moment. Too many times in the past the international community has been blind or too slow in front of unfolding tragedies. Entire generations in many places around the world have paid and are still paying the price of inaction. We can’t make the same mistake again: we have to take action. After the UNSC’s failure last week, the GA has the responsibility to send a strong and united message on the need for Russia to immediately and unconditionally cease its military operations, withdraw its troops and opt for genuine dialogue. We call on Russia to avoid, in particular, any action that places the safety and security of Ukraine’s nuclear and radioactive waste installations at risk. The people of Ukraine and the whole world are watching us and counting on us. And will judge us on the decision that we will take today. And it’s our duty and responsibility for all of us to do our utmost to defend the UN Charter and the international order. We therefore hope that this Assembly will massively support the resolution tabled by Ukraine.
The EU and its Member States will continue to do their utmost to protect the integrity of the rules-based international system, which is key to our collective security, and call on all UN Member States to do the same. On our side, we will continue to stand by Ukraine, support its democratically elected institutions and representatives and its people including through additional political, financial, humanitarian and logistical support.