Norway is aligned with the statement made by the European Union, but allow me to make a few remarks in my national capacity.
We cannot reiterate often enough that Russia’s illegal and brutal war against Ukraine violates the fundamental principles of the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, and other legal norms of the international order.
The staggering number of civilians affected by the war is alarming and unacceptable.
Behind the numbers are families, children, persons with disabilities. They all need protection, health services, education. Restoration of family links is of utmost importance. We must also prevent and combat human trafficking and other abuses of the many who are now in dire need of protection and assistance. Yesterday in the FSC we addressed particularly the rights of children in conflict. Clearly, more can be done to protect children from the consequences of this war.
We reiterate our demand that international humanitarian law and international human rights law must be fully respected.
We also remind Russia that all measures aiming to alter the demographic composition of an occupied territory are prohibited according to international humanitarian law, and may constitute war crimes.
On this day, when the world celebrates the International Day of Democracy, Europe's most authoritarian regimes can, according to Freedom House, be found in the territories in Donbas which have been occupied by Russian forces and Russian-backed armed formations since 2014.
We salute Ukraine for bravely trying to liberate the people in these occupied territories, fighting authoritarianism and seeking to restore democracy.
Furthermore, let me underscore that Ukraine has the right to defend itself against Russia´s armed attack, as enshrined in Article 51 of the UN Charter.
Other States are entitled to respond positively to Ukraine’s call for assistance in the exercise of its legitimate self-defence.
The simple fact remains: What is blatantly illegal, is Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
Russia must fully and unconditionally withdraw its forces and military equipment from Ukraine.
Russia started this war. It is time to stop it.