Norway is aligned with the statement made by the EU, but allow me some remarks in my national capacity.
We continue to be appalled by Russia’s warfare in Ukraine. The brutality is shocking and seems to be increasing.
There are numerous credible reports that civilians are being attacked, injured, and killed – even as they try to flee to safety. Some are also arrested, deported, or abducted, including, as we have heard, SMM employees. Homes, schools, and hospitals are bombed, damaged, and destroyed.
Russia is waging a war of choice and has chosen to cause the largest humanitarian crisis in Europe since World War II.
The reports we hear from Mariupol are particularly alarming. Civilians have been trapped in cellars for weeks without food, water, electricity, medicines, and other basic necessities. The Russian forces have killed, maimed, and destroyed civilian objects indiscriminately. The remaining population is left with almost no shelter or means to survive. A beautiful harbour city has been reduced to ruins. I have visited Mariupol several times, and it is difficult to grasp that the pictures we now see are from the same city. It is even more difficult to imagine the suffering and traumas of the population there.
In the last few days, larger parts of eastern and southern Ukraine are being increasingly targeted by Russian aggression, including intensive missile attacks. We are witnessing a new brutal Russian offensive, for instance in places such as Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, and Popasna.
At the same time, Russia has carried out missile attacks on cities such as Kyiv and Lviv. The strategy is obviously to make sure that nobody feels safe in any part of Ukraine.
The atrocities being committed by the Russian forces will be documented and investigated. Those responsible – at all levels – for violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law must be brought to justice.
The “Moscow Mechanism-report” presented by Professors Benedek, Bílková, and Sassòli on 13 April is important in this respect and constitutes part of a broader international effort to seek justice and accountability.
Russia has started this war, and Russia can choose to stop this war.
We urge the Russian leadership to make the right choice, and to immediately and unconditionally cease its military actions and withdraw its forces.
Let me also reiterate Norway’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.
I ask that this statement be attached to the journal of the day.