We thank the Mayor of Zhytomyr for his sober and sombre address to the Permanent Council. It is yet another reminder of the hardships the Ukrainian people must endure. It is also a testimony to their bravery.
We join others in conveying our condolences to the Ukrainian people, and join the condolences for Maryna Fenina, an OSCE employee. Our thoughts are with her family and friends.
Our thoughts are also with remaining SMM staff in Ukraine, and I would like to express Norway’s gratitude for the efforts of the Secretary General, the CPC and SMM management to bring SMM employees into safety.
Mr. Chairman, Norway was aligned with the EU statement, but I want to make the following remarks in my national capacity.
We condemn in the strongest possible terms the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation.
We also condemn Belarus for facilitating the attack.
The Russian Federation’s aggression violates the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Let me be absolutely clear.
Norway demands that the Russian Federation immediately, completely, and unconditionally stops all fighting and withdraws all of its forces from the territory of Ukraine.
Norway expresses full solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in the face of Russian aggression. Ukraine has Norway’s unwavering support for its sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.
Norway will join our allies and partners in swift and concrete countermeasures.
This includes the alignment of Norway to the intensified sanctions of the European Union.
We would like to stress that our countermeasures are directed towards the Russian regime, not the Russian people.
During the past days we have watched with horror broadcasted images of families separated, children sheltering underground, kindergartens destroyed by Russian ordnances, and the ruins of bombarded residential buildings in the centre of the capital of Ukraine. The rapidly increasing civilian casualties are heart-breaking.
However, evidence of these actions never reaches the majority of the Russian population. The regime’s persecution of independent media actors and journalists leaves the Russian authorities in almost total control of the narrative delivered to the Russian population (through state-controlled media). March 1., two of the last vestiges of independent journalism in Russia, radio station Ekho Moskvy and television channel Dozhd were shut down by the Prosecutor-General's Office.
We also regret/condemn the attacks on the freedom of assembly by the Russian Federation and Belarus, hindering peaceful protesters from expressing their opinion.
We are outraged by indiscriminate attacks on civilians in this unlawful and immoral war of conquest which serves no purpose and no principle but the naked quest for power and territory.
Space for neutral, impartial, and independent humanitarian action must be protected to ensure safe, rapid, and unimpeded humanitarian access to those in need.
The parties to the conflict in Ukraine must comply with their obligations under international law, including human rights law and international humanitarian law and ensure the protection of the civilian population and detainees.
Russia, and Russia alone, bears the sole responsibility for this humanitarian crisis through its unprovoked, unjustified, and irresponsible military aggression towards Ukraine.
We are struck with a profound sense of injustice and a profound sympathy with the Ukrainian people, who are fighting for their country, their cities, their homes, their families, their lives.
The Russian leadership has decided to erase Ukraine’s right to determine its own future and disregarded the very core principles of the international rules-based world order since the Second World War.
We will not let that happen.
The world will hold Russia and Belarus accountable for their actions.