The Russian Federation’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine

As delivered by Ambassador Anne-Kirsti Karlsen at the Permanent Council, Vienna, 13 July 2023.

Thank you, Mr Chair,

Norway is aligned with the statement made by the EU, but let me add the following in my national capacity.

Yesterday, in this very room, we gathered to discuss the nexus between security and the environment. A great majority of the participating states concurred that environmental issues are inextricably linked to issues of security and stability in the OSCE region. In my statement I conveyed that armed conflict is innately destructive, its consequences are wide-reaching, and the environmental damage devastating. Russia’s illegal and senseless war in Ukraine is a testimony to this.

We remain concerned about the threat Russia’s actions poses to the nuclear safety and security in Ukraine. A major nuclear accident in Ukraine would have environmental consequences of immense proportions not only for Ukraine, but also beyond its borders, most likely also in Russia.

The situation at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is particularly worrying. It is unacceptable that nuclear power plants are being instrumentalized in this war. Russia has currently occupied the ZNPP, which is located on internationally recognized Ukrainian territory. At present, Russia therefore bears responsibility for ensuring safety and security at the plant. However, we once again call on Russia to end its illegal occupation and return control of the plant to the Ukrainian authorities in an orderly manner.

 The IAEA plays a crucial role in providing independent, credible assessments of the state of nuclear facilities in Ukraine. Furthermore, IAEA experts are providing technical support and assistance to prevent a nuclear accident from occurring. We urge Russia to grant IAEA staff full and unhindered access to the ZNPP. Norway continues to strongly support the IAEA’s work and provides financial support to help ensure that IAEA experts can maintain a presence in Ukraine. In addition, Norway is increasing its funding for nuclear safety and security cooperation with Ukraine. This funding will be administered by the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority.

Mr. Chair,

We condemn the entry into force in Russia of a regulatory act that violates the legal rights of citizens of Ukraine.

On July 6, 2023, the President of the Russian Federation signed Decree No. 495 "On some issues related to the specifics of the legal status of citizens of the Russian Federation who hold Ukrainian citizenship". It provides for the verification of Ukrainian citizens illegally documented with Russian passports.

This "legislative act" is another violation of legal rights of Ukrainians, who were forced to stay in the temporarily occupied territories during the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine or forcibly relocated to the territory of the aggressor state.

Such actions of the authorities of the Russian Federation are, from a legal point of view, null and void and do not entail any legal consequences. Instead, they merely resemble an attempt to establish an artificial legal basis for intimidation and other means of pressure on Ukrainian citizens.

Thank you.