One year since the Russian Attack on Ukraine

As delivered by Military Adviser Arne H Knapskog at the #1037th Meeting of the Forum for Security Co-operation, Vienna, 22 February 2023

Thank you, Chairman,

Norway has aligned itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the European Union. Today, in my national capacity, though, I would like to make a few remarks.

Mr. Chair,

On Friday we mark the tragic one-year anniversary of Russia’s unjustified, senseless, and brutal attack on Ukraine. One year of war in the OSCE region. One participating State attacking another participating State and at the same time violating the core principles and the commitments upon which this organization is founded, including the entire Helsinki Decalogue.

It has been a year of destruction on a scale not seen since the second World War. One year of brutality and war crimes. One year of Russian forces terrorizing the Ukrainian people, including direct attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure.

It has been a year full of ludicrous lies and propaganda, and an ever-shifting explanatory rationale for why the war was initiated. And yes, the culprit is Russia. No matter how much, or how many times, the ever-churning Russian propaganda machine and the Russian colleagues try to put the blame on someone else and even claim to be the victim. All this, paired with the rejection of the risk reduction mechanisms laid down in the Vienna Document, the lies on the so called “defensive” exercise on the borders to Ukraine and claims that the other side has rejected to engage in dialogue with Russia, demonstrates that the Russian impudence is boundless.

Mr. Chair,

Russia has created a deep division between those who support Ukraine’s self-defense and the current regime in Moscow. But - with division comes unity. Unity amongst democracies that understand what is at stake. Namely, a fight for Ukraine´s freedom and territorial integrity - but also by extension - a fight for our security, our principles, and values.

The war of choice has obviously not turned out the way Russia expected. Russia has failed to reach its objectives. Whatever they initially were. And the past year has revealed major weaknesses in the Russian defence.

On the other hand, the Ukrainian self-defence is impressive. The Ukrainian people’s courage is admirable and inspiring.

Mr. Chair,

The military and economic support is on the rise, and Norway will continue to provide political, economic, military, and humanitarian support to Ukraine for as long as it takes.

There must also be justice and accountability for all violations of international law. We will continue to support efforts for accountability to ensure that those responsible for the crime of aggression and all international crimes committed in Ukraine will be held accountable for their actions.

Norway stands with Ukraine. Norway does not, and will not, recognize any illegal annexation of Ukrainian territory. We remain unwavering in our support and solidarity with the people of Ukraine, as well as for Ukraine’s right to choose its own security arrangements and foreign policy course.

Thank you.