OSCE: Speech by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell at the OSCE Reinforced Permanent Council to mark one year since the start of Russia’s aggression

New York
Strategic Communications

Ministers, Excellencies,

24 of February 2022 marks Russia’s decision to deny Ukraine its right to exist as a sovereign democratic country.

This war is not only a direct assault on Ukraine and its people, but also on the core principles on which the European security order is built.

Russia has been trying to subvert these principles for years. But they are not negotiable nor subject to re-interpretation. Ukraine’s security is Europe’s security.

The European Union has been rock solid in its support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity since the start of Russia’s aggression in 2014.

We shall not forget that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine actually started more than nine years with the annexation of Crimea.

This was a major violation by Russia of international law and a blatant breach of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) principles and commitments.

The European Union will support Ukraine for as long as it takes. Our support will continue along four lines: political, financial, humanitarian and military.

The European Union has so far provided Ukraine and its people with €67 billion. We have adopted ten packages of sanctions hitting Russia’s capacity to wage the war.

For the first time ever, the European Union and its Member States have provided over €12 billion in military support. We have launched an EU Military Assistance Mission [EUMAM Ukraine] that will provide training for up to 30,000 Ukrainian troops.

I am speaking to you from New York, where once again the international community is coming together to call out Russia’s crimes and call for peace for Ukraine.

Yesterday, the General Assembly [of the United Nations] passed a resolution for a just peace in line with the principles of the United Nations charter with an overwhelming majority.

In all this, the OSCE plays a crucial role. It remains one of the guardians of the fundamental acts and values governing security in Europe. It continues to provide an important platform for comprehensive discussions on security, and it retains a unique toolbox. 

We, therefore, need to continue to use all OSCE tools to address Russia’s escalating aggression against Ukraine.

The whole of Ukraine is currently a crime scene, so accountability is a priority. The OSCE has continued to deliver important outcomes, including through the use of the Moscow Mechanism. Its invocation last year, with two reports on Ukraine, has provided us with wealth of evidence on Russia’s gross violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

The launch of the OSCE Support Programme for Ukraine has ensured continued OSCE presence on the ground. The European Union and its Member States already donated more than €8.7 million for this programme.

We do not forget the former staff members of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission and their families. Russia must immediately and unconditionally release the staff members of the former OSCE Special Monitoring Missions’ that have been arbitrarily detained since April 2022. And it must return seized OSCE equipment.

I commend the efforts of the OSCE Chairpersonships-in-Office to lead the Organisation in challenging times.

Thank you for your attention.

[Due to technical issues, there is no video available.]

Nabila Massrali
Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
+32 (0) 2 29 88093
+32 (0) 460 79 52 44
Paloma Hall Caballero
Press Officer for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
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+32 (0)460 76 85 60