Yet again we are witnessing the Russian Federation misuse of the United Nations - and its privileged position within it - as platform for disinformation, and as a smokescreen to draw attention away from the brutal warfare it is waging against the Ukrainian people. The intensity of this disinformation campaign is alarming.
Norway is a firm supporter of the Biological Weapons Convention, and we are determined – together with partners in the international community – to uphold a total ban against biological weapons.
Let me therefore be clear that we consider allegations of violations of the BWC to be extremely serious, and merit scrutiny.
Yet, Russia has failed to offer any credible evidence for its accusations. Providing us instead with unsubstantiated claims and mere insinuations. The offered documentation simply does not support the assertions.
As we repeatedly heard from the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs in the Security Council last month: “the United Nations is not aware of any biological weapons programmes in Ukraine”.
It is quite clear that today’s meeting is nothing but another attempt to spread confusion, and deflect from Russia’s role as aggressor in the illegal invasion of Ukraine.
Russia’s war against Ukraine is a blatant violation of international law, and the very principles of the UN Charter.
We are appalled by reports of unimaginable atrocities in Ukraine, in areas that have been held by Russian forces. Norway strongly condemns attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure.
We call for accountability for all violations of international law, and we echo the call by the Secretary-General for an independent investigation. We cannot allow impunity for war crimes being committed in Ukraine.
Let me end by reiterating that Norway condemns in the strongest terms Russia’s war against Ukraine.
We demand Russia halt the fighting, withdraw its troops, and stop causing further death, suffering, and destruction.