Thank you chair,
Norway is aligned with the statement made by the European Union. Permit me still to make a few remarks in my national capacity.
Allow me at the outset to thank the Head of the Zaporizhzhia Regional Council, Ms Olena Zhuk, for briefing the Permanent Council. It was a moving testimony to the strength of the Ukrainian people and an upsetting account of the ruthless behaviour of Russian military forces, as incidents are obviously taking place even as we speak.
This week both houses of the Federal Assembly of Russia have ratified the illegal attempt to annex Ukrainian territory in the regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, based on illegal referendums at gunpoint. The deputies’ unanimous rubber-stamping of President Putin’s gross violation of international law represents a new nadir in Russia’s authoritarian descent.
Norway strongly condemns Russia’s attempted annexation, a gross violation of the sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity of Ukraine. It is also a blatant violation of Russia’s OSCE commitments. This irresponsible escalation of Russia’s illegal and unnecessary war of aggression will lead to further death and destruction.
The Russian Federation must immediately and unconditionally withdraw its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.
Norway will continue to support Ukraine’s inherent right to self-defence, and the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ efforts to defend Ukraine’s territorial integrity.