Thank you, Madame Chair,
Norway has aligned itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the European Union. In my national capacity, though, I would like to make a few remarks, and want to start with thanking Ms. Herasymchuk for her address to the Permanent Council.
The need to ensure protection for all civilians is a key humanitarian prerogative. However, in Ukraine, Russia continues to subject civilians to violence and destruction.
The report by the Independent Commission of Inquiry, established by the UN Human Rights Council, concludes that Russia has committed numerous violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, in addition to a wide range of war crimes.
The findings are shocking – including sexual violence, torture, as well as the forced transfer and deportation of children from Ukraine and their illegal adoptions in Russia. Such acts are in violation of International Humanitarian Law and may amount to a war crime.
Adding to this, Russia continues its deadly and destructive missile attacks. The Independent Commission of Inquiry has documented indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks in populated areas, causing excessive suffering and harm to civilians and civilian objects, including hospitals and schools.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) says it has confirmed the deaths of almost 8,500 civilians since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, but believes the actual toll could be thousands higher. As mentioned by others, on Sunday 9 April, during Easter, we witnessed another deadly attack in the city of Zaporizhzhia causing civilian casualties. A 50-year-old man and his 11-year-old daughter were killed after a Russian missile struck a residential building.
Not only did Russia start an illegal war of aggression, but it notoriously continues to violate established norms and rules of armed conflict. Russia’s attacks on civilians, civilian infrastructure, including the systematic targeting of energy-related infrastructure may amount to crimes against humanity. We call on Russia to comply with its obligations under international law, and to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure as well as to enable full, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian actors.
Norway will continue to stand with Ukraine and its people. Norway has contributed heavily to Ukraine through 2022 and will continue its support in the years to come. Ukraine has an urgent need for ammunition to defend their freedom and democracy against Russian aggression. Together with Denmark, Norway has recently donated 8000 artillery rounds and associated accessories.
Norway will contribute where we can. It is important for both Europe's and Norway's security that Ukraine succeeds in standing up to Russia's attack.