Statement on the Russian Federation's ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine

As delivered by Minister Councellor Knut-Are Okstad at the Permanent Council, Vienna, 30 May 2024

Thank you, Madame Chair,

In this weekend’s heinous attack on the Epicenter hypermarket in Kharkiv, Russia again showed blatant disregard for civilian lives in its aggression against Ukraine. The shelling put approximately 200 lives in danger in a single attack. 19 people have died and dozens more have contracted injuries. Norway strongly condemns the Russian Federation´s targeting of Ukrainian communities and infrastructure, and the continuous and illegal war they are waging against a peaceful neighbour.

Madame Chair,

Norway stands with Ukraine in its fight against an occupier. We firmly believe that Zelensky´s Peace Formula is the most targeted approach for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine in line with the UN Charter and international law. We look forward to having a broad and cross-regional discussion on opportunities and concrete actions for achieving peace at the Summit for Peace in Ukraine, which takes place in Lucerne, Switzerland, in two weeks.

As co-chair of working group 3 on energy security together with Denmark and Poland, and working group 4 on the return of deported children, other civilians and prisoners of war together alongside Canada, Norway is particularly engaged in maintaining and mobilizing further support on those two points in the formula.

As pointed out by the IAEA Director General a week ago, attacks on the electrical power infrastructure in Ukraine highlights the risk to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant as well to the other operating nuclear power plants in the country. This could have disastrous consequences for Ukraine’s nature and economy, but also far beyond Ukraine’s borders. Competent Ukrainian control over the nuclear power plants in Zaporizhzhia and Chernobyl is the best way to ensure the protection of us all from radiation-caused natural degradation.

These last weeks, we have also heard damning accounts from Ukrainian civilians detained by the Russian Federation, and from their families. The Moscow Mechanism report on civilian detainees concluded that Russia lacks the necessary organization and does not allow the ICRC access to detention facilities. Russia cannot continue to circumvent its obligations under the third and fourth Geneva Conventions which regulate the rights of prisoners of war and civilians during conflict.

Madam Chair

The Russian Federation continues to violate its international obligations every day Russian troops remain on Ukrainian sovereign territory. We call on the Russian Federation to cease all hostilities, and completely, immediately and unconditionally withdraw from Ukraine. Russia started this war. Russia can choose to end it at any time.

Thank you.