PGA remarks to the resumed 11th Emergency Special Session on Ukraine

Must read

22 February 2023

Mr. Secretary-General, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

Today we mark the grim first anniversary of the war in Ukraine.

One year of despair, displacement, destruction and death on a scale not seen in Europe in decades.

The staggering scale of loss defy the human ability to absorb:

Thousands civilians and soldiers dead – countless more injured.

Eight million refugees spread across Europe and beyond;

Six million internally displaced – two thirds of them women and children, with families separated, often not knowing about the fate of their loved ones;

And the systematic targeting of civilian infrastructure, which has left millions of Ukrainians without energy, water and heat in the depths of winter.

To be clear, the targeting of civilian infrastructure is a direct violation of international humanitarian law.

When these are the headlines of our day, we are indeed in a new chapter of history.

We are facing stark choices about who we are as an international community.

And how we will rebuild the trust lost amongst us here in this Hall – and in us, by the peoples of the world.

These choices will either set us on a path of solidarity and collective resolve to uphold the tenets of the UN Charter, or a path of aggression, war, normalized violations of international law and collapsed global action.


The General Assembly has condemned in the strongest terms Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and its morally and legally indefensible war against its sovereign neighbour.

For a full year, the General Assembly, the Secretary-General and the international community have been consistent and vocal in our calls to end this war, and to adhere to the UN Charter and international law.

But it bears repeating today: Aggression is illegal. Invading a neighbour is illegal. Annexing another country’s territory is illegal.

Over the past year, every Member State represented in this Hall has been affected by these events.

It has sparked an energy crisis across a continent and caused pernicious inflation far beyond.

It has unleashed a global food security crisis on those least able to survive one, from the drought-affected Horn of Africa to war-torn Yemen to refugee camps in Syria.

I commend the Black Sea Grain Initiative and efforts by the Secretary-General, Türkiye, Ukraine and the Russian Federation to ensure the clearance of food exports for global markets.

I call on the parties to support its renewal in March and to expedite inspections.

The continued and timely implementation of the Grain Initiative is critical to saving lives and stabilizing global prices. It offers a strong example of crisis management in action.

Against this backdrop, the threat of nuclear warfare still looms large, as do the dangers of a nuclear accident.

Это немыслимая угроза с потенциально катастрофическими глобальными последствиями.

В ядерной войне не может быть победителей и она никогда не должна быть развязана.

Я выражаю свою решительную поддержку важной работе МАГАТЭ по обеспечению ядерной безопасности в Украине.

Я подчеркиваю срочную необходимость подтверждения приверженности к глобальному разоружению и режиму нераспространения.

(Russian translation: This is an unconscionable threat, with potentially catastrophic global implications.

Nuclear war can never be won and should never be fought.

I express my strong support for the important work of IAEA to ensure nuclear safety and security in Ukraine.

I underscore the urgent need to recommit to global disarmament and the non-proliferation regime.)


No one can be complacent.

To all those suffering the consequences of this war: you are not forgotten. We see you. We hear you.

Across the UN system, we are working tirelessly to find solutions to your plight and to accompany you on the road to reconstruction.

I commend Member States that have already begun to provide that assistance and call for further support to rebuild the country.

In the General Assembly, there has been firm support for a political solution.

Three resolutions adopted during the 11th Emergency Special Session have referenced political dialogue, negotiations, mediation or other peaceful means. A solution based on the UN Charter and international law – and one that respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.


This war will come to an end. And the time of reconstruction, reconciliation and transformation will come. We know it will not be easy. We know the scars are deep. Culture, family bonds, sports, arts and the acknowledgement of the shared destiny of humanity will certainly help nations currently facing each other in the trenches.

Позвольте мне обратиться к лидерам и народу Российской Федерации: Россия была и остается важнейшим членом сообщества наций. Остальные страны члены ждут, когда Россия вернется на путь установления и сохранения мира, чтобы внести свой вклад в общую стабильность и процветание.

Ваши превосходительства,

Пусть эта годовщина – и страдания миллионов людей на наших глазах за последний год – послужат напоминанием всем нам здесь, в этом зале, о том, что военные решения не положат конец этой войне.

Слишком много жизней было потеряно, средств к существованию, семей и местных сообществ.

Россия может прекратить эту агрессию.

Россия может положить конец войне, которую она же развязала.

Россия должна положить конец этому адскому кровопролитию.

(Russian translation: Let me send my message to the leaders and the people of the Russian Federation: Russia was and remains an outstanding member of the community of nations. The rest of the membership is waiting for Russia to come back to the track of making and safeguarding peace, to contribute to the shared stability and prosperity.


Let this anniversary – and the anguish of millions before our eyes over the last year – serve as a reminder to all of us here in this Hall that military solutions will not end this war.

Too many lives, livelihoods, families and communities have been lost.

Russia can end its aggression.

Russia can end the war it has unleashed.

Russia must end this hell of bloodshed.)

I call on the parties – and the international community – to recommit to the values, principles and purposes of the UN Charter.

Upholding and preserving our constitution for “we the peoples” must be the common interest of all Member States.

There is no alternative.

I thank you.

More articles

Latest article