Statement on the Russian Federation’s military operation against Ukraine

Delivered by Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt at the Permanent Council, Vienna, 24 February 2022

Mr. Chairman,
Dear colleagues, excellencies,

Norway strongly condemns Russia’s attack on Ukraine. It is entirely unjustified, unprovoked, and irresponsible. Russia bears the full responsibility for this crisis. We also condemn Belarus for facilitating this attack.

Despite all calls on Russia to change course and tireless efforts to seek a diplomatic solution, a cruel scenario has become a reality. Russia’s repeated assurances that it had no intention of attacking Ukraine, proved to be nothing but lies. Its pretext of genocide or Ukraine posing a threat to Russia, are equally untrue.

We would have expected better from Russia. Clearly, this reckless act of war is not in the interest of the Russian people.

The attack is a severe breach of international law, including the UN Charter, and is wholly contradictory to Russia’s OSCE commitments. It constitutes an act of aggression against an independent peaceful country. A country which has Norway’s unwavering support.

Norway calls on Russia to stop military attacks and to immediately, completely, and unconditionally withdraw all its military forces from Ukraine. We urge Russia to act with dignity and return to dialogue.

We also call on Russia to respect international law, including international humanitarian law, and ensure the protection of civilians who are now facing grave risks caused by the Russian military attack.

As an OSCE participating State we support the SMM, also with personnel. We are gravely concerned about the monitors’ safety and security. We expect Russia to respect the mandate of the SMM and to ensure the safety and security of the mission’s staff.

Let me conclude by again reiterating Norway’s unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. Our thoughts are with the Ukrainian people.