Although Norway has aligned itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the European Union, I would, in my national capacity, like to return to an issue raised by the Secretary General and many participating States in the Permanent Council last week, namely the OSCE vehicles missing from Rostov-on-Don.
If appropriated OSCE vehicles are now being used by Russia in its illegal war against Ukraine, this is outrageous and yet another example of the blatant disrespect Russia is showing towards this organization and its participating States.
We urge the Russian Federation to return the vehicles to the OSCE in an orderly manner, as these vehicles are the property of the OSCE. We support all attempts by the Secretary General to return these vehicles to OSCE compliant use and her to keep us informed about progress in this regard.
Let me also take this opportunity to once again condemn the ongoing detention of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission staff and stress our call for their immediate and unconditional release.
Yesterday, late in the evening, Russia again launched a drone attack against Ukraine from the area of the Azov Sea. According to available information, 24 drones were shot down. This morning we are again witnessing a massive missile attack launched by Tu-95 bombers. These attacks usually strike civilians and civilian infrastructure and constitute nothing but terror against Ukraine and the Ukrainian population. Attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure are not only heinous - they are also war crimes and prohibited under international humanitarian law. There is no justification whatsoever for these actions.
I would like to congratulate Ukraine on the Day of Unity marked on 22 January. Norway stands with Ukraine, and we reiterate our full support for and solidarity with the people of Ukraine, and our unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders and territorial waters. Our substantial military, humanitarian, and financial support for Ukraine’s legitimate self-defence against Russia’s aggression will continue.
In conclusion I reiterate that Norway condemns Russia’s war of choice in the strongest terms possible. The Russian Federation can and must immediately withdraw its forces from Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.
Russia chose to start this war. It must choose to stop it.