On Russia´s continued aggression against Ukraine

As delivered by Ambassador Anne-Kirsti Karlsen at the Permanent Council, Vienna, 31 March 2022.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman

Norway aligns itself with the statement by the European Union. Allow me to add some remarks in my national capacity.

Russia’s aggressive war against a fellow OSCE participating State is causing the largest humanitarian crisis in Europe since WW II.

The attacks on civilians are unacceptable. The damage and destruction to civilian infrastructure, including food systems, is devastating.

Mr. Chairman,

This is both a humanitarian and a development crisis. It is both a Ukrainian and a global crisis.

Ukraine itself has been set back decades in economic development by the conflict. Four million Ukrainians have been forced to leave the country as refugees.

The conflict will hinder this year's agricultural production, leading to increased global food insecurity. Coupled with increasing commodity and energy prices, this may fuel social unrest and instability across the world.

Mr. Chairman,

In the last weeks, we have heard reports of abductions and enforced disappearances of local activists, journalists and representatives of local democracy in areas under the control of Russian forces. Yesterday, we heard the personal accounts of the mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, who was kidnapped and held in arbitrary detention for 6 days, and journalist Oleh Baturyn, who was arbitrarily arrested and held for 8 days in degrading conditions, and we were informed of 29 other Ukrainian public officials still being held in captivity/arbitrary detention.

This is not only cruel and inhumane, but it also harms the ability of local communities to fulfil their duties to the citizens, to organise humanitarian work and mitigate the human consequences of the war. It is a clear violation of OSCE commitments. We call on Russia to ensure that those responsible for these disappearances and abductions stop this practice and return the victims to their homes.

Once again, we reiterate that international humanitarian law, as well as human rights, must be respected, and the civilian population in Ukraine must be protected.

The Russian aggression has long-term consequences for Ukraine. It also exacerbates other humanitarian crises, and undermines global economic development, peace, and security. The best humanitarian aid that Russia can give, is to end its attack on Ukraine.

Mr Chair,

We welcome Turkey’s role in facilitating talks between Russia and Ukraine.

However, first and foremost, we urge The Russian Federation to withdraw its troops and stop its aggression against Ukraine.

Thank you.

I kindly ask that this statement be attached to the journal of the day.