I thank Ambassadors Çevik and Kinnunen for their updates and commend the valuable work they and their teams continue to carry out.
Norway has aligned herself to the statement held by the EU, but would like to underscore the following:
Norway remains deeply concerned by the Russian Federation’s large-scale military build-up in and around Ukraine. Through threatening posture and unrealistic demands, Russia is challenging European security. Norway calls on Russia to de-escalate and engage constructively in dialogue, in any formats available, within and beyond the OSCE.
Norway supports the negotiations in the Normandy Format and in the Trilateral Contact Group, aimed at lasting ceasefire, at ending the conflict through a political settlement and implementation of the Minsk agreements. It remains a major obstacle that Russia falsely seeks to portray the conflict as an internal, Ukrainian conflict.
Diplomacy is the only viable way out of the present situation. Diplomacy is the core and intent of our organisation, and it requires the participation of all parties to work.
On behalf of Norway, I would like to express strong concern regarding the issue of recognition by Russia of the self-proclaimed “People’s Republics”. We warn against such a step. I reiterate Norway’s unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.
In these difficult times, let me take this opportunity to thank all SMM personnel for their valuable work and reassure you about Norway’s support. The work of the mission is even more important in light of the ongoing disinformation and misinformation regarding the situation.