Norway aligns itself with the statement by the European Union, but allow me also to make some remarks in my national capacity.
Firstly, I want to thank our Polish colleagues for the excellent way you are conducting your chairmanship. You have Norway’s full support in all your endeavours.
Secondly, I also want to thank other delegations in this room for setting the record straight. For countering and displaying abhorrent Russian lies and giving the true versions of the atrocities taking place in Ukraine. Atrocities committed at the hands of Russian military forces.
The Russian Federation’s unprovoked and unlawful attack on Ukraine was and remains, a war of choice. This choice was made by Russia in full knowledge of its violation of international law as well as its catastrophic impact on Ukraine.
When you make a choice – wage a war of choice – you must be held accountable for the violations you commit and the ruthless choices you make.
On Tuesday, we commented on the atrocities committed in Bucha and other places while they were held by Russian forces. We fear that we have only seen the tip of the iceberg, and that more horrendous stories may surface.
Russia is systematically waging war against civilians and civilian objects, turning living and thriving cities into ruins. The responsibility for the death and destruction lies with Russian authorities.
We call for accountability for all violations of international law. This includes holding accountable the perpetrators of the violations as well as the responsible government officials and military leaders. We urge all participating States, in particular Russia, to make use of the tools at hand and to cooperate with the OSCE institutions in good faith.
The situation in Mariupol is now beyond a humanitarian disaster. The city is almost levelled to the ground by brutal Russian bombardment and the population still in the city are without food, water, electricity, medicines, and other necessities. The situation for the population is simply put dire. People are dying. We urge Russia to immediately grant full, safe, and unhindered access for humanitarian actors and assistance as well as protection and safe passage to allow civilians to leave all conflict-affected areas safely and voluntarily to a destination of their choice.
Yesterday we attended a meeting hosted by Ukraine and Lithuania, where the backdrop was the numerous accusations by Russia about Ukraine preparing attacks with the use of chemical and biological weapons. These accusations have increased recently, for instance as illustrated by yesterday’s Arria formula meeting of the UN Security Council.
Allegations of violations of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) are extremely serious and merit scrutiny. Yet, Russia has failed to offer any credible evidence for its accusations, but keeps making unsubstantiated claims and mere insinuations.
I would like to recall that the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs has stated in the Security Council that “the United Nations is not aware of any biological weapons programmes in Ukraine”. Furthermore, as we heard yesterday afternoon here in Hofburg, Ukraine has, in cooperation with many different international partners, including the OSCE through the PCU, solidified its systems for chemical and biological safety and security.
Russia’s accusations are yet another attempt at disinformation and a smokescreen to draw away attention from their own bestial warfare.
I kindly ask that this statement be attached to the journal of the day.