OSCE Permanent Council 1432 Vienna, 13 July 2023
- Mr. Chair, more than 500 days have passed now since the start of Russia's unprovoked, unjustified, and illegal full-scale invasion of Ukraine. During this time, the European Union has been standing steadfastly with Ukraine and its people, who are courageously defending their country, its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. We have demonstrated in unwavering unity our political support and solidarity with the Ukrainians. We have mobilised and provided Ukraine with comprehensive financial, humanitarian, legal, and military support to rightfully defend itself against Russia’s aggression. We will continue supporting Ukraine and its people for as long as it takes.
- Unable to achieve its imperialistic objectives and unable to break the resolve of the Ukrainian people to defend their homeland, Russia’s Armed Forces and their proxies continue their deliberate attacks against Ukrainian cities and critical civilian infrastructure. We strongly condemn the most recent attacks against residential areas of Lviv (6 July), Mykolaiv and Orikhiv (10 July), where a humanitarian support delivery centre was targeted, and other Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv and Odesa. Deliberate attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure are reprehensible and totally unacceptable. They amount to war crimes. Russia must immediately cease its deplorable attempts to terrorise the Ukrainian people.
- Russia will have to fully compensate Ukraine and its people for all the damage and suffering inflicted in the context of its war of aggression. The principle of the “aggressor pays the damage” must be upheld. Moreover, Russia will not escape accountability for any war crimes and other serious international crimes committed, including for the crime of aggression.
- We thank the North Macedonia OSCE Chair-in-Office and the Bulgarian Forum for Security Cooperation Chair for dedicating yesterday’s joint PC-FSC meeting to discuss the Security and Environment Nexus. The impact of Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine’s environment is detrimental in an unprecedented scale. Up to half a million hectares of Ukraine’s territory are now suspected to be contaminated with mines, and it will require decades to clear this land of them and the unexploded ordnance. In other areas, such as those affected by the destruction of the Kakhovka dam, the full impact on Ukraine’s environment and economy is yet to be assessed.
- We deplore Russia’s continued transformation of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) into a military base and the reported ongoing attacks on Ukrainian armed forces from that location. Russia must withdraw all its military equipment and personnel, including that of Rosatom, from the ZNPP, and return full control to its rightful owner, Ukraine. In the event of any nuclear incident in Ukraine, Russia will bear full responsibility for it. The EU strongly supports IAEA efforts to ensure nuclear safety and security of the ZNPP, in full respect of Ukraine’s sovereignty.
Furthermore, Russia continues to weaponise food, thus undermining global food security. We once again urge Russia not to impede the extension of the UN Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI) and to fully comply with the conditions agreed. Any disruption to the export of Ukrainian grain to those most in need worldwide will solely be Russia's responsibility. We reject Russia’s continuous disinformation activities about the nature of the BSGI. Since August 2022, the BSGI has helped to revive grain shipments from Ukraine's Black Sea ports, contributing to a global reduction in food prices and easing the burden for some of the world‘s most food-insecure countries. As part of our response to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the EU’s Solidarity Lanes and the efforts of EU Member States remain instrumental in bolstering global food security.
- Mr. Chair, Ukraine’s right to defend itself is unquestionable. This right is enshrined in Article 51 of the UN Charter. The EU will continue providing its tangible contribution to help Ukraine exercise this right. At the last European Council meeting of 28-29 June, EU leaders reiterated that the EU and Members states stand ready, together with partners, to help Ukraine defend itself in the long term, deter acts of aggression and resist destabilisation efforts.
- The EU reiterates its support for President Zelenskyy’s initiative for a just peace. We will continue working with Ukraine on the 10-point peace plan. We reiterate that any initiative for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine must be based on full respect for its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.
- To date, Russia has shown no willingness to cease its hostilities, withdraw its troops and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine, and work towards a comprehensive, just and sustainable peace. The Kremlin is only intensifying its brutal aggression and war propaganda, using irresponsible nuclear rhetoric, without abandoning its goal of subjugating Ukraine and undermining its statehood and independence.
- The EU condemns the continued military support for Russia’s war of aggression provided by the Belarusian authorities. It urges all countries not to provide material or other support for Russia’s war of aggression.
- The EU reiterates its unwavering support to Ukraine‘s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. We demand that Russia ceases its illegal war of aggression against Ukraine and withdraws all its military forces, proxies, and equipment, unconditionally and entirely, from the whole territory of Ukraine. Russia must also immediately cease actions endangering the safety and security of civilian nuclear facilities in Ukraine.
The Candidate Countries NORTH MACEDONIA*, MONTENEGRO*, ALBANIA*, UKRAINE, the REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA, and BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA*, the Potential Candidate Country GEORGIA, and the EFTA countries ICELAND, LIECHTENSTEIN and NORWAY, members of the European Economic Area, as well as ANDORRA, MONACO and SAN MARINO align themselves with this statement.
* North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.