Ukraine: Speech by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell at the UN Security Council session on Ukraine
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Thank you, Mr President [Ian Borg, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade of Malta], Secretary General [of the United Nations, António Guterres]
Today, exactly one year ago, Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine, starting a massive invasion of a peaceful neighbour.
For one year, we have all seen the Ukrainian’s fighting to defend their country.
They deserve the solidarity of everyone around the world: every country and every person.
I will just make two essential points. First, why Russia’s “war of choice” matters to all of us. Second, how to get peace.
We need to be clear: I said “war of choice” because this war is the war of President Putin who chose war.
And, for one year, we have seen the horrors [unfold]: today, 13 million people homeless, 21 million in need of humanitarian assistance and millions of Ukrainians forced to leave their country and seek refuge across Europe.
Families torn apart. In a catalogue of crimes, the forced deportation of tens of thousands of Ukrainian children stands out for its depravity.
Abduction of innocent Ukrainian children, the changing of their personal status – including nationality –to be adopted by Russian families is a clear violation of human rights and international law and violates, also, the Geneva Convention.
These children – these Ukrainian children - need to be returned to Ukraine immediately.
[These are] crimes against humanity. I have been to Bucha and seen for myself the civilians killed, with some having their hands tied behind their backs before they were executed.
And who can forget Mariupol? I would again like to pay tribute to the United Nations for their efforts in securing the safe passage of civilians trapped inside the Azovstal steel plant.
Russian forces have been shelling Ukrainian cities and civilian infrastructures for months.
Air-raid sirens have become a disturbingly regular feature of Ukrainian lives, as I witnessed myself - like many of you - when I was in Kyiv 10 days ago.
Oui, un an après, le bilan de la guerre est catastrophique pour le peuple ukrainien.
Mais les effets de la guerre sont aussi planétaires, avec une insécurité alimentaire et énergétique entraînant des hausses de prix dont les effets sont dramatiques pour les populations les plus vulnérables.
L’augmentation du prix des produits alimentaires et des biens essentiels a ajouté un fardeau additionnel aux difficultés de la vie quotidienne dans beaucoup des pays autour du monde. C’est pour ça que cette guerre touche tout le monde.
L’Union européenne et ses États membres ont contribué depuis un an à alléger ce fardeau – ce fardeau qui est la conséquence de la guerre.
En Afrique par exemple, plus de 1,5 milliard d'euros ont été engagés pour des actions de sécurité alimentaire [en 2022] dans les pays les plus touchés du Sahel, du lac Tchad et de la Corne de l'Afrique.
This war matters. Yes, this war matters a lot, both for the principles at stake and for the shockwaves it is creating.
It needs to stop, and it needs to stop now.
This brings me to the second point, maybe the most important one: How do we get to peace? Because everybody is asking for peace, but how? How do we get to peace?
There is here, at the United Nations, and around the world, a growing clamour for peace.
That was the clear message that the General Assembly [of the United Nations] sent yesterday.
While the [United Nations] Security Council has been blocked, the General Assembly stated with an overwhelming majority of 141 [votes in favour] versus 7 [votes against the resolution]: that the world condemns the aggression, that Russia must withdraw its troops, that the world wants and needs peace.
But not just any peace. No, we want a just peace, based on international law and the United Nations Charter.
It is urgent for the Kremlin to hear this message and to act on it.
Looking to the future, we need to build on this resolution and make it happen. President [of Ukraine, Volodymyr] Zelenskyy has presented a 10-point peace plan and we support it. Because we, the European Union, we will remain ready to work with all genuine partners and ideas that support Ukraine’s efforts to secure a comprehensive, just and lasting peace - as the United Nations General Assembly voted - based on the United Nations Charter and international law.
And meanwhile, we will continue to support Ukraine to defend itself and protect its people.
Because the search for peace and our support to Ukraine go hand in hand. Both things together, not “either or”. Both: search for peace and support to Ukraine.
And, with that, I want to make a final point: our principled support for Ukraine does not come at the expense of our engagement elsewhere in the world.
On the contrary, the European Union remains fully mobilised to promote sustainable peace elsewhere because we know that there are many more wars, many more tragedies, many more problems around the world that need our support and our concern. It is not “instead of”, it is “on top of”.
We continue doing the same things we have been doing until now.
And we have a strong track record of engagement around the world, financially, politically and with more than 5,000 women and men deployed in 21 crisis management operations.
Just this week, we launched two more: one [civilian mission] in Armenia [EU Mission in Armenia] and another in Niger [EU Military Partnership Mission Niger]. Yes, there are many other problems, many other wars, many other sufferings around the world - we take care of them.
We work for the peace in Ukraine and [to] be that reliable partner for peace around the world wherever the peace is endangered and people [are] suffering.
Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-237772