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Statement with regards to recommendations provided at the 81st Joint Special PC-FSC meeting

Delivered by Ambassador Anne-Kirsti Karlsen at the Permanent Council, Vienna, 29 April 2021.

Statement with regards to recommendations provided at the 81st Joint Special PC-FSC meeting for stabilizing the situation and halting activities of the Russian Federation that give rise to concern

Madame chair,

Norway continues to be concerned by the number of ceasefire violations in Donbas and continued uncertainty in the conflict in and around Ukraine. The Vienna Document was created in order to increase military transparency in the hope that this would decrease the risk of conflict in our region.

Two weeks ago, in a joint meeting of the Permanent Council and the Forum for Security Cooperation, the 57 participating states of the OSCE came together after Ukraine activated paragraph 16.3 in the Vienna Document. It is a participating state’s right to invoke chapter III of the document when it has concerns regarding unusual military activities. We regret that Russia did not respond to the questions asked, or in accordance with the document, when answering Ukraine’s concerns. A number of recommendations were put forward and we call upon the Russian Federation to act in accordance with the letter and spirit of the document, and to reverse those actions that lead to Ukraine’s invocation of it.

We appreciate Russia’s positive answer to the request for a Vienna Document Chapter 9 inspection from Switzerland and also the announced withdrawal of forces from the areas close to the Russian-Ukrainian border. We would also encourage, and positively value, the use of other recommendations, such as voluntary briefings at the FSC, voluntary invitation of observers to the exercises and participation in modernising and updating the Vienna Document. In our view practical steps that can clarify the situation and verify the activity and intent of it would increase the transparency needed.

Assuming that the withdrawal takes place as announced and that the inspection can take place according to plan, this will contribute to transparency and thus hopefully to a de-escalation of the situation.
Still, the continued militarisation of occupied Crimea and the large number of occupying forces on the peninsula, are unacceptable violations of Ukrainian territorial integrity that should be resolved immediately.

Thank you.