Statement on the Russian Federation's ongoing aggression against Ukraine

As delivered by Ambassador Anne-Kirsti Karlsen at the Permanent Council, Vienna, 27 February 2022

Mr. Chair,

As we speak, bombs are falling over Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities. There are battles going on in the streets. We see pictures and images from Ukraine that we thought not possible in modern Europe. There is a full-scale war going on.

Let me reiterate Norway’s strongest possible condemnation of the unjustified and unprovoked Russian military attack on Ukraine.

We already see the consequences for civilians, with causalities and injuries of children, women, and men, as well as mass displacement of people. We appeal to the Russian Federation to abide by humanitarian law and do its utmost to prevent the loss of lives, destruction of civilian infrastructure and human suffering.

Norway joins other states in a large-scale humanitarian assistance operation to mitigate the situation for the Ukrainian population. We have pledged € 25 million in humanitarian assistance. We are ready to welcome Ukrainian refugees to Norway. We will also implement similar sanctions and restrictive measures as the EU.

Mr. Chair,

In this very room, we have been misled by Russia for a long time. In numerous meetings of this council, we have been reassured that Russia had no intention to invade Ukraine.

Representatives on the highest level from OSCE participating States have been ready to talk with Russia about common security interests. They, and everybody in this room, have invested time and effort to turn every stone in the search for a peaceful solution for Ukraine. All in vain, as it was never Russia’s intention to negotiate in diplomatic channels.

Instead, we have been served lies and disinformation. Let me be clear: There never was a genocide on the Russian speaking population in Ukraine. The Russophone Ukrainian population has not fled Donbas in large numbers. NATO never had the intention to attack Russia, and certainly never intended to use Ukraine as a steppingstone for such an attack. The president and government in Kyiv are not fascists nor neo-Nazis. President Putin’s claim that they are drug addicts is ludicrous.

On the contrary, Ukraine is a proud independent sovereign state with a democratically elected government. It also shares a 2.000 kilometers long border with Russia. Russia and Ukraine have common history and share many common interests. This should have been the foundation of a flourishing bilateral relationship, where disputes and disagreements could be sought out through dialogue and diplomatic channels. Because that is what neighbours do.

The military attack on Ukraine by the Russian Federation constitutes a grave breach of its obligations under international law and fundamental OSCE commitments and principles.

Dear colleagues,

Some say that the OSCE has failed in this situation. But there is nothing wrong with the OSCE. On the contrary, our organization is a unique platform for dialogue with a unique set of tools based on a unique set of principles and commitments. Let us not allow one participating State to stop the rest of us continue efforts according to our common principles.

Before concluding, I would like to remind Russia of their responsibility to ensure the safety and security of the SMM’s staff.

I reiterate again Norway’s unwavering support for Ukraine. Our thoughts are with the Ukrainian people. We stand with Ukraine.

Thank you.