Statement by Ambassador Barbara Woodward at General Assembly Special Session on Ukraine

Ukraine resolution underlines the need for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace

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22 February 2023

Thank you, Mr President.

One year ago, we met in this Hall as 130,000 Russian troops amassed on Ukraine’s borders and in illegally annexed Crimea. Many of us called for de-escalation, dialogue and respect for the UN Charter. Russia claimed it had no intention to invade.

The next day, Russia launched its full-scale invasion, with Belarus providing one of the staging grounds.

We are all aware of the devastating impacts: Millions of civilians displaced. Countless lives – Ukrainian and Russian – lost.  Hundreds of hospitals and thousands of schools destroyed. A generation of Ukrainian families scarred by abuses, trauma and forced deportation.

And across the world, increased food insecurity and energy prices are affecting every country, really hurting those most in need.

In response, the General Assembly has now met in this Emergency Special Session six times in the past year. It has repeatedly called for Russia to end its invasion and withdraw from Ukraine; it has condemned Russia’s illegal attempts to annex Ukrainian territory; and it has reaffirmed our respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and demanded respect for the Charter.

Yet Russia continues. More indiscriminate attacks on Ukrainian cities and towns; and endless systematic strikes on Ukraine’s water, electricity and other infrastructure. A war on the Ukrainian people and their right to exist.

Ukraine has resisted day in and day out for every one of the last 364 days, exercising its right of self-defence under the Charter. As Foreign Minister Kuleba said earlier, every country in this Assembly would fight to survive in the same way.

But beyond its own survival, what Ukraine really wants – indeed what we all want, what we have continually called for – is a just peace.

Tomorrow, we will vote on a resolution. It is a resolution that underlines the need for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.

A peace that guarantees Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and ends Russia’s constant aggression.

A vote in favour of the resolution is a vote for peace and the UN Charter. We urge all of you to join us in voting ‘yes’.

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