EU Statement on the Russian Federation’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine

As delivered at the 1470th Permanent Council, 25 April 2024

  1. Over the past week, Russia continued to launch deliberate attacks on numerous settlements across Ukraine. Civilians and civilian objects, including critical infrastructure, were again the main targets, in a stark contradiction of Russia‘s disinformation narratives. The brutal missile strikes on the cities of Dnipro, Kryvyi Rih and Synelnykove on 19th April, which killed at least eight civilians, including two children, have further consolidated Russia‘s appalling track record of intentionally directing attacks against Ukrainian civilians and civilian infrastructure, in blatant disregard of its international obligations. This disregard has been further underscored by Russia‘s latest attacks on Ukrainian port infrastructure in Odesa region, demonstrating Russia's persistent intent to weaponise food and deliberately undermine global food security. Russia‘s attacks resulted in nine casualties, including four children, in Odesa during an overnight assault on 23rd April, followed by a rocket attack on the Dnipropetrovsk region that left four people hospitalised. In addition, Russia continued its missile terror against Kharkiv, also targeting Kharkiv's broadcasting tower.
  1. Russia’s relentless attacks on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, especially in the energy sector, are further aggravating the humanitarian situation in the country. Already at the end of 2023, OCHA assessed the situation as dire, with nearly 15 million people estimated to be in need of humanitarian and protection assistance in 2024. As part of their efforts to alleviate the suffering of the Ukrainian people, the EU and Member States have allocated nearly 3 billion euro in humanitarian assistance to date. In addition, in-kind assistance and emergency operations, totalling nearly 800 million euro, have been provided via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

  2. As Russia continues to spread disinformation and propaganda regarding its war of aggression against Ukraine, we reiterate once again that Russia‘s war of aggression is illegal, unprovoked and unjustifiable. Repeated attempts by Russian state-run media and diplomats, including in this and other international fora, to justify Russia‘s war or to shift the blame for it, are nothing short of cynical and reprehensible disinformation and propaganda. We firmly reject them, and remain committed to intensifying our efforts to counter all false Russian narratives, historical distortions and disinformation, in a systematic and comprehensive manner.

  3. In addition to its war against Ukraine, Russia's conduct and rhetoric demonstrate a consistent pattern of aggressive behaviour toward its neighbours and other OSCE participating States, employing conventional, cyber and hybrid threat methods. Russia must stop its state-controlled disinformation and other malign activities, including attempts at subversion, coercion and intimidation, and uphold its international obligations, including those enshrined in the UN Charter and our joint OSCE key principles and commitments, which are the foundation of the European security order and our peaceful co-existence.

  4. Madame Chair, we remain gravely concerned about the fate and well-being of the thousands of Ukrainian civilians that have been arbitrarily detained by Russia since 2014, as documented by the latest Moscow Mechanism report. Ahead of its presentation later today, we would like to reiterate our strong call on Russia to immediately release all individuals arbitrarily deprived of their liberty, including the three OSCE staff members who have been held captive since April 2022. We thank the Maltese Chairpersonship and the OSCE Secretary General for their continuous efforts to secure their release.

  5. We reaffirm our unwavering support for Ukraine’s rightful and brave self-defence against the brutal aggressor, Russia, as well as for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. The EU is determined to continue providing Ukraine and its people with all the necessary political, financial, economic, humanitarian, legal, military and diplomatic support for as long as it takes and as intensely as needed. At the latest Special meeting of the European Council, EU leaders underscored the urgent need to provide air defence to Ukraine and to speed up and intensify the delivery of all necessary military assistance, including artillery ammunition and missiles.

  6. We will continue intensive global outreach efforts and cooperation with Ukraine and other partners from all regions of the world to ensure the widest possible international support for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace and the key principles and objectives of Ukraine’s Peace Formula, based on the UN Charter, also in view of the high-level international conference planned in Switzerland in mid-June in preparation for a future Global Peace Summit.

  7. Madame Chair, let us be clear: the path to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace is for the aggressor, Russia, to immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all its forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders and respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Russia must also immediately end its continued, systematic and brutal attacks against Ukraine and its people. We condemn the continued military support for Russia’s unprovoked, unjustifiable and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine provided by Belarus, as well as Iran, and the DPRK. We urge all countries not to provide material or other support for Russia’s war of aggression, which is a blatant violation of international law, including the UN Charter, and the OSCE’s core principles and commitments.