I thank UNHCR and IOM for setting out the devastating human consequences of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
We are appalled by Russia’s ongoing offensive in Donbas, and the relentless attacks against civilians and vital civilian infrastructure across Ukraine – including in urban areas.
Russia has intentionally created a humanitarian disaster. Particularly in Mariupol, where civilians have been trapped in cellars for weeks without food, water, electricity, medicines, and other basic necessities. At the same time, Russia continues to carry out missile attacks on Kyiv and Lviv.
Nobody is safe in any part of Ukraine.
As we have heard today, 12 million Ukrainians have now fled their homes. As internally displaced persons or refugees, they face increased risk of sexual and gender-based violence, trafficking, abuse, psychological trauma, and family separation.
Russia is solely responsible for creating this situation. All Russian attacks on civilians must stop.
Russia’s invasion is a blatant violation of international law, and of the UN Charter.
We welcome the investigations of possible war crimes and crimes against humanity opened by the ICC Prosecutor, and the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry for Ukraine.
There must be accountability. Perpetrators must be brought to justice.
Russia is choosing to cause the largest humanitarian crisis in Europe since the 2nd World War.
Norway echoes the Secretary-General’s call for a humanitarian pause to allow safe passage for civilians, and delivery of lifesaving humanitarian aid.
The brutality and sheer scale of this rapidly evolving crisis, puts civilians at great risk – and demands protection responses at unprecedented levels. From local communities, areas receiving internally displaced people and refugees, to international humanitarian organisations, and so many in between.
All countries receiving displaced people must ensure immediate identification and registration, and put in place measures to protect them from further risks and harm.
Women and children account for 90% of all those who have fled Ukraine. The response must therefore be gender- and age sensitive, and tailored to meet distinct needs. With particular attention paid to unaccompanied children – who are extremely vulnerable. Access to education and health services, including for sexual and reproductive health, must also be a top priority.
Norway is impressed by the resilience of the people of Ukraine.
Local services, communities, and responders – even those affected by the conflict themselves – continue to serve people in need.
And we commend the response mounted by local and international humanitarian organisations.
As the needs grow, so must the efforts to step up the response, and engagement directly with affected people.
We continue to call for safe, rapid, and unimpeded, humanitarian access to people in need. We applaud also the hospitality and solidarity extended by Ukraine’s neighbours. And we encourage countries to keep their borders open to all those seeking protection, without discrimination.
Russia alone is responsible for the war in Ukraine, and for the devastating global consequences.
We are acutely aware of the war’s negative impact on the cost of staple foods, fertilizers and energy – across the globe. And how it exacerbates poverty, food insecurity and humanitarian needs.
Russia can choose to stop this war – to end the aggression against its neighbour.
This is the only way to end the humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine and beyond.