Norway stands aligned with the statement made by the EU, but I would like to add a few points in my national capacity.
Let me start by thanking the special guests of the chair, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, and Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on Gender, Liliana Palihovici, for your introductions to our meeting.
Let me also reiterate that Norway strongly condemns Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine, which now has been going on for two full weeks. We also condemn Belarus for facilitating the attack.
The humanitarian situation in Ukraine is becoming progressively worse as we speak. Civilians and civilian infrastructure are being targeted by Russian military forces. Yesterday’s attack on a maternity hospital in Mariupol is only one among many horrifying incidents.
The permanent representative of Ireland just made a statement on behalf of the Women Ambassadors and Representatives of the OSCE about the consequences this war is having on women; About how women and children are particularly vulnerable during situations of displacement; About the danger of sexual and gender-based violence perpetrated by armed groups; About the danger of rape as a weapon; About the danger of human trafficking. Norway is aligned with the statement and subscribes to the content.
Nevertheless, war, by its very nature, is cruel and affects all in a negative way, regardless of whether you are a woman or a man, girl or boy, gay or straight, orthodox, catholic or atheist. Men are also disproportionally affected, among other things by having to leave their families and take up arms against an aggressor. Everybody is affected, but not necessarily equally. This has to be properly addressed when meeting the present consequences of this irresponsible war.
We are gravely concerned about the serious threat that Russia’s military activities pose to nuclear facilities in Ukraine. Seizing control of nuclear facilities by force and other violent actions is highly irresponsible. Russian forces are staying on in Chornobyl and have also taken control over the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant by force. Furthermore, as a result of shelling, substantial damages at the neutron source in Kharkiv have been identified. These actions are unacceptable and constitute clear violations of commitments voluntarily adopted by the Russian Federation.
The ongoing war has disrupted direct communication lines between nuclear facilities and the Ukrainian regulator. The staff operating the facilities is under psychological and physical stress. They are at the mercy of an invading force. This is not conducive to the rational and safe operation of nuclear facilities, which we all rely on for our safety.
We call on Russia to immediately cease all hostilities in the vicinity of Ukrainian nuclear facilities, to exercise maximum restraint to avoid any action that could jeopardize or disrupt their safe and secure operation. This would restore Ukraine’s ability to ensure safe and secure operations, and the IAEA to fully resume its safeguards verification activities.
In conclusion, we urge the Russian Federation to immediately withdraw its forces from Ukraine’s territory within internationally recognized borders and cease all threats and military actions. International law, including humanitarian law and human rights law, must be respected, not least in the midst of war.