Statement by the European Union  delivered by H.E. Ambassador Silvio Gonzato, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the UN Security Council on the Maintenance of Peace and Security of Ukraine

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6 February 2023


I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

Congratulations to Malta on assuming the Presidency of the Security Council.

Let me start by expressing the EU’s solidarity with all those who have lost loved ones in the devastating earthquakes that struck Türkiye and Syria this morning. Our search and rescue teams are mobilised to support first respondents and are coordinating further support with Turkish authorities.

It has been almost a year since the Russian Federation launched its unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine. This blatant violation of international law and the UN Charter has led to senseless suffering for a sovereign and independent nation that was simply looking for prosperity and democracy. It threatens not only Ukraine, but the entire rules-based international order.


I want to emphasise three points in this intervention.

First, Russia’s massive airstrikes, often in densely populated areas, are inflicting unmeasurable suffering. These attacks do not only destroy critical civilian infrastructure; they destroy civilian lives! The findings of the UN Commission of Inquiry are shocking – documenting cases of sexual violence, torture and other forms of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment as a tactic of war.

Perpetrators of such crimes must be held accountable without delay. The EU welcomes all efforts to ensure full accountability for war crimes and the other most serious crimes in connection with Russia’s war of aggression, including ways to secure accountability for the crime of aggression. We also reaffirm our support for the investigations of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

The vast majority of refugees have found safe haven in EU countries. The EU’s humanitarian response has already contributed to alleviating the needs of almost 14 million people. The key priority now is winterised shelter to help the population survive the freezing temperatures. We are assisting in the restoration of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and delivering equipment to keep the electricity grid functioning.

But solidarity for Ukraine goes beyond Europe. At the Paris Conference last December, 47 States pledged an additional 1 billion euros. We welcome the humanitarian support mobilised from around the world and call on all states to continue to stand in solidarity with Ukraine.

Russia must enable full humanitarian access into the temporarily occupied territories through the front lines. Human suffering is not only inflicted through direct attacks, but also by willingly withholding aid from people in need. Our humanitarian partners are ready to provide assistance wherever aid is needed.

We note the impressive efforts by Ukraine’s government and civil society, which has provided a significant share of the humanitarian response. We commend the UN for its coordination work despite the significant challenges to provide aid particularly in newly liberated areas and areas close to the frontline that are subject to constant Russian shelling. The Russian aggression has led to high landmine contamination, which poses a major threat to human security, restricting relief aid delivery, and preventing civilians from returning to home safely.

We are gravely concerned with the continued attacks of the Russian armed forces around Ukrainian nuclear sites and the illegal seizure of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. The EU fully supports the IAEA’s work to assist Ukraine in ensuring nuclear safety and security, and to maintain the implementation of safeguards pursuant to Ukraine’s safeguards obligations.

Secondly, on a comprehensive, just and lasting peace. The first step toward peace would be for Russia to immediately cease all hostilities, and unconditionally, completely and immediately withdraw all of its forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders. Until then, the EU remains committed to providing the support Ukraine needs to defend its population from the indiscriminate attacks, and to supporting Ukraine’s wish for a just peace in line with the UN Charter. Because Ukraine is defending not only itself and its people, but also the fundamental principles of the UN Charter! The General Assembly has stated this clearly in successive resolutions, adopted by an overwhelming majority of UN members. The EU supports Ukraine’s initiative for a just peace and President Zelenskyy’s Peace Formula, and will work to garner the broadest possible international support for it.

Third and last, I want to mention the continued efforts to address the global consequences of Russia’s war. We support the extension and full implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. The prolongation of this agreement beyond March 2023 is crucial to stabilize prices and allow the continuous flow of grains, including for humanitarian purposes. It is important that Russia fully commits to its implementation, and scales up the inspections.

The EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes have already allowed the export of about 23 million tons of Ukrainian grains between May and December 2022. The EU is also the world’s first provider of food and development assistance. Together with our Member States, we have increased our financial support to address the global food crisis, providing around 18 billion EUR this year.

[Defensive point in case Russia states the EU is blocking fertilizer exports:

Concerning food security, Russia is once again deliberately spreading disinformation. The truth is that the EU is supporting the Black Sea Grain Initiative as well as the “Grain from Ukraine” initiative, that facilitates the export of Ukrainian grains to third countries in need. Regarding the fertilizers in European ports, I point out that the transfer of Russian fertilizers to third countries is permitted and that EU member states are working closely with UN agencies to facilitate their transfer to third countries. ]


We have stood by Ukraine since day one and we remain steadfast in our support for as long as it takes.

Thank you.

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