Ukraine: Press remarks by High Representative Josep Borrell after his address at the UN Security Council

New York
EEAS Press Team

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Good morning.

I have just addressed the United Nations Security Council for one of its most important meetings this year. 

We live in a dangerous world. One permanent member of the United Nations Security Council is breaching the most fundamental pillar of the international rules-based order: the United Nations Charter. 

President Putin has announced a partial mobilisation in Russia, the organisation of illegal “referenda” in the Ukrainian territories, which are currently occupied by Russia and threatened again, in an unveiled manner, with the use of weapons of mass destruction. 

These Russian actions continue threatening peace and security - not only in Ukraine but in Europe and elsewhere - and are having severe global consequences in the form of increased food insecurity and rising energy prices. The world leaders gathered here must be united in condemning this.   

This is an irresponsible and cynical attempt to undermine the steadfast support to Ukraine. He [President Putin] has shown the total disregard for the values of the United Nations. Yes, this is the way it is. President Putin is acting showing complete disregard for the values of the United Nations and this Chamber, as the world community [must] be united, refuse it and work for peace and progress. 

Now President Putin wants to extend further the cost of war, and also to the Russian population through this partial mobilisation. 

One thing is clear: Putin wants to destroy Ukraine and he is not succeeding militarily.  

Russia has brought an immense suffering upon the Ukrainian people. Every day we learn about atrocities committed by the Russian troops. These are tragic stories of broken families who will never see again their loved ones. I witnessed myself an exhumation of the bodies of the killed people in Bucha when I travelled to Ukraine last April.  

We have seen the accounts from Mariupol where people where purposely starved. And now, the latest images from the Izyum area are another demonstration of Russia’s complete disregard of any international norms [and] principles. 

Let me be clear: Russia - its political leadership, and all those who are involved in violations of international law and international humanitarian law in Ukraine - will be held accountable. The International Criminal Court (ICC) can count on the European Union’s unwavering support.  

We are supporting the ICC financially and technically and assisting the Office of the Ukrainian Prosecutor General by providing training, expertise and equipment, including in collecting evidence.  

Russia must respect the principles of the United Nations Charter and reverse these illegal plans. 

As President [of Ukraine, Volodymyr] Zelenskyy said yesterday, here at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA): Putin is the only one who wants war. This war is his war. Russia jeopardises, in an unprecedented scale, international peace and security.  

But they will not shake our determination, our resolve and unity to stand by Ukraine and our comprehensive support to Ukraine´s ability to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty as long as it takes.  

But the most important thing, all leaders gathered here, the international community sitting at the United Nations, has to issue a strong condemnation on the threat of use nuclear arms, which is an irresponsible and dangerous position taken by President Putin. 

We stand by Ukraine. 


Q. You said that the Kremlin wants to destroy Ukraine. Do you think that Sergei Lavrov [Foreign Minister of Russia] is welcome in the Security Council chamber? Do you think he is welcome at the meetings happening around New York? I know you are not meeting with him. Should he be welcome here if his country is trying to destroy Ukraine? Do you think he has a role to play here? He just gave his remarks and walked out. 

Russia is a member of the United Nations, and he has the right to attend the meetings. 


Q. What did you make of Sergei Lavrov’s comments? It seems that international condemnation does not move the Russians. Is there anything concrete that the EU is going to do about these annexation plans? 

Concrete? You mean, concrete? Look, since the beginning of the war, we are supporting Ukraine by concrete means: providing military support and arms. It is the first time in our history that we are providing financing for military equipment to a country at war. We have approved tough packages of sanctions against the Russian economy. And we are developing an intense diplomatic activity in order to explain to the world which are the consequences of this war. These are very concrete things. Sanctions against the Russian economy – we will approve a new package of sanctions, although we have already done almost everything possible. We will continue supporting Ukraine militarily by providing arms in order for them to defend [themselves]. And here in the United Nations and every day, everywhere, we fight the battle of narratives in order to confront the lies of Russia – trying to convince the world that the hunger that they create by blocking the exports of Ukrainian grains is the consequence of our sanctions. These are concrete actions. 


Q. Can you elaborate on what the European Union is ready to do in terms of sanctions and military supply to Ukraine? What would be the reaction if Putin follows through with the threat to use nuclear weapons?  

We know that Putin is being pushed to the corner by the success of the Ukrainian military and their counter-offensive. He is in a very dire situation militarily - that is why he is calling 300,000 reservists and why he is threatening with nuclear weapons. It is certainly a dangerous situation because we do not know what Putin is able to do – we do not know. He should go to the negotiation table and stop the war but what we see is that he continues bombing Ukraine and is continuing escalating in the war. 

So, the Council will study a new package of sanctions, a new set of individuals – I cannot tell their names now - and study the tightening of the economic sanctions targeting more the technological part of our relationship with Russia. 

For the time being, the sanctions are already very tough and very effective. Almost two thirds of Russian civilian planes cannot flight anymore - just an example. 99% of the Russian factories of car have stopped. 45% of technological components come from Europe and they have stopped also. We have to continue stubbornly, relentlessly. [We have to] continue. This is not the moment to weaken our support to Ukraine. This is the moment to continue supporting Ukraine militarily economically and diplomatically. 


Link to the video:

Peter Stano
Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
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Paloma Hall Caballero
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