Statement on the Russian Federation's ongoing Aggression against Ukraine

As delivered by Ambassador Anne-Kirsti Karlsen to the Permanent Council, Vienna, 11 April 2024.

Madame Chair,

These days, we mark that two years have passed since Bucha, Irpin, Borodianka and other settlements in the Kyiv region were liberated from Russian occupation.

The images and videos from Bucha sent shockwaves throughout the world. Dozens of bodies of men, women, and children were found on the streets, in yards, in homes, and in mass graves. Many showed signs of torture. Testimonies from survivors have also provided insights into the brutality and atrocities committed by the Russian armed forces during the weeks of occupation.

The fact that Russia is still actively denying that any civilians were harmed during the occupation of Bucha says a lot about the current regime in Moscow. Unfortunately, we have seen numerous acts being committed since then following the same pattern, with the same inhumane brutality, with the same neglect of international commitments and disrespect for human life and dignity.

Norway condemns Russia’s gross violations of international law and will continue to hold Moscow to account for its illegal war of aggression against Ukraine – also within the OSCE.

This also concerns the safe return of deported persons, children and prisoners of war, and Norway works together with Ukraine and Canada as co-chair in the Working Group 4 of the Ukrainian Peace Formula. We will continue to advance this piece of the Peace Formula, including at the OSCE.

Accountability is vital to ensure justice for the victims and their loved ones, and to deter, and prevent, future violations. It is also a prerequisite for comprehensive, just and lasting peace and security for Ukraine – and the broader OSCE region.

Madame Chair,

The last weeks we have been witnessing intensifying Russian attacks on Ukrainian cities and civilian infrastructure.

On April 5, Russian strikes on Kharkiv killed four people and injured 12. Among the casualties were three first responders, who had rushed to the scene after the first attack. According to Ukrainian officials, Russia’s so-called “double tap” attacks have killed 91 first responders and injured 348 since the start of the full-scale war.

Norway reiterates that first responders and medical personnel must be protected in accordance with international humanitarian law.

The last couple of days, Russia’s drones and missiles have killed civilians in several Ukrainian regions, including Donetsk, Sumy, Poltava and Zaporizhzhia.

Russia bears the responsibility for all fatalities caused by their aggression and should also contribute to the recovery of Ukraine.

According to the World Bank, a current estimate of the damages from the aggression amounts to close to 500 billion dollars. As Russian shelling along with drone and missile attacks continue with undiminished strength, this sum is increasing every day.

It is, therefore, important to establish a compensation mechanism, and Norway commends the formal launch of the Council of Europe’s Register of Damage at the Restoring Justice Conference in The Hague on April 2.

Madame Chair,

Let me once again reaffirm Norway’s unwavering support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. We will continue to stand with Ukraine and its brave and resilient people for as long as it takes to win a just and lasting peace.

Thank you.