The Russian Federation's Ongoing Aggression against Ukraine: Intensified Attacks on Civilians

As delivered by Minister Counsellor Henrik Malvik at the Special Meeting of the Permanent Council, Vienna, 5 July 2022.

Thank you,

Norway is aligned with the statement made by the European Union but allow me to make a few remarks in my national capacity.

Mr. Chair,

During the past week Russia has continued to attack civilian targets in Ukraine. The examples are abundant.  I need only to mention the bombing of a shopping mall in Kremenchuk and apartment buildings in Odesa and Mykolaiv.

We are appalled by the fact that the Russian Federation appears not to be making any effort to avoid such incidents, as it is obliged to under International Humanitarian Law.

More shocking still, the number of such incidents would seem to indicate that they are committed intentionally, as part of Russia’s war strategy. This is entirely unacceptable. We sincerely urge Russia to fulfill its obligation to protect civilians.

Mr. Chair,

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted a remarkable alignment of international actors contributing to various accountability processes.

International organizations and national authorities have launched documentation and evidence collection efforts, fact-finding missions and criminal investigations into crimes committed in Ukraine.

45 participating States in the OSCE, in cooperation with Ukraine, have on two occasions invoked the Moscow Mechanism regarding the Russian aggression. The two missions have been mandated to establish the facts and circumstances surrounding possible contraventions of OSCE commitments, and violations and abuses of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

As we speak, the Human Dimension Committee is gathered for an extended meeting on the issue of accountability. Expert guest speakers from other organisations such as the Independent Commission of Inquiry, Eurojust and key civil society networks are sharing perspectives on the work they are doing to document violations, gather evidence and coordinate their activities.

As an OSCE participating State and one of the 45 that have joined the invocations of the Moscow Mechanism this spring, we will seek to ensure that the findings of the expert missions under the Moscow Mechanism will feed into other international accountability processes in the time to come.

Mr. Chair,

Russia bears full responsibility for the unspeakable human suffering and tragedies, the loss of so many lives, massive displacement, and destruction across Ukraine. It is appalling that this continues, contrary to all OSCE commitments, and despite the efforts by most of us to use every means available in the multilateral system, first to prevent, and now to stop this war.

The various processes on accountability will not be concluded in the short term. However, the violations and crimes committed in this war will be documented in detail and determine beyond any doubt who are the perpetrators and who are the victims. Impunity is not an option.

The suffering in Ukraine must stop now. We call on Russia to immediately and unconditionally cease its military actions and withdraw all its troops and equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine, including the illegally annexed Crimean Peninsula.

Thank you.