1. Mr Chair, in the face of Russia’s ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine, it is important to continue to shed light to the unrelenting horror Russia is inflicting upon the Ukrainian people. We commend your decision to call for this special Permanent Council meeting today.
2. Russia’s deliberate, long planned and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine constitutes a blatant violation of international law and all fundamental principles of international relations. Nothing can justify this aggression. Targeting and killing thousands of civilians, including women and children, attempting to redraw borders by force and to subjugate the will of a free people is not and will never be acceptable in the 21st century. Russia will be held accountable for these condemnable acts.
3. Mr. Chair, Russia will also be held accountable for failing to uphold its obligations under international humanitarian law in the territories of Ukraine under its temporary military control. This also applies to the treatment of prisoners of war. We are appalled by a video, widely shared on social media, of heinous atrocities and brutal killing of a Ukrainian prisoner of war. Furthermore, the blast in Olenivka resulting in the death of dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war, including defenders of Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant who had surrendered to Russia, is a heinous act and must be thoroughly and independently investigated. These prisoners were registered by the ICRC and were under Russia’s legal protection. Twelve days have passed since the tragedy and Russia has still not allowed an independent international mission to visit Olenivka. We urge Russia to grant the ICRC access to all prisoners of war.
4. The European Union actively supports all measures to ensure accountability for violations of international humanitarian law, as well as human rights violations and abuses, committed by the Russian Armed Forces during the Russian aggression in Ukraine. The perpetrators of these and all other war crimes and other serious violations, as well as responsible government officials and military representatives, will equally be held accountable.
5. Likewise, the EU condemns Russia’s military activities around Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which is the largest in Europe. This is a serious and irresponsible breach of nuclear safety rules and another example of Russia’s disregard for international norms. We demand that Russia immediately cede control over the Zaporizhzhia power plant to Ukraine and refrain from any action endangering its safety and security. Monitors of the IAEA must be given free and unrestricted access to the facility to verify the safety and security of its operations.
6. Mr. Chair, as stated multiple times by us and other Delegations in this Council, one of the most regrettable ripple effects of this war is the impact on the global food situation. Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports, targeting Ukrainian infrastructure and deliberate burning of Ukraine’s harvest have exacerbated the global food crisis which risks bringing millions of people across the world to the brink of famine. The EU welcomed the progress announced on 22 July in Istanbul on ensuring the safe and secure export of Ukrainian grains via the Black Sea ports. The EU has supported the efforts of the United Nations in facilitating this positive outcome, which has the potential to significantly ease global food insecurity. We look forward to the full implementation of the deal so that the Ukrainian grain can reach its customers and call on Russia to live up to its commitments in this regard. We welcome the departure of three ships carrying grain from Ukrainian ports on Friday and four more on Sunday as a first step.
7. The EU is firmly committed to supporting the food security of our partners worldwide by increasing our humanitarian assistance, supporting food production and getting Ukrainian grain to world markets. The EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes Plan has facilitated the export of 2.5 million tons in June alone, up from 0.6 million tons in April. We also strongly support the UN led efforts to promote a swift multilateral response to address the global food security crisis. In this context, we are mobilising over 7.7 billion Euros until 2024 to support the most affected partners around the world and are working closely with our Member States to further step-up these efforts.
8. Later this month, Ukraine will hold the 2nd summit of the International Crimea Platform. The EU is committed to working for a peaceful end of Russia’s illegal annexation of the peninsula, as reiterated in the joint declaration of the first summit of the International Crimea Platform held on 23 August 2021, including through its comprehensive non-recognition policy.
9. The European Union continues to resolutely condemn Russia’s premeditated, unprovoked, unjustified and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine in the strongest possible terms. We call on Russia to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders and to immediately and unconditionally cease its military actions and withdraw all its troops and equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine, including the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula. Any attempt to alter the status of parts of Ukrainian territory are a clear violation of international law, the UN Charter, the OSCE principles and commitments as well as Ukraine’s Constitution, they further undermine sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and will not be recognised by the European Union. We also reiterate our call on Belarus to stop enabling the Russian aggression and to abide by its international obligations.
We stand with Ukraine.
The Candidate Countries REPUBLIC of NORTH MACEDONIA*, MONTENEGRO*, ALBANIA*, UKRAINE and REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA, the Potential Candidate Countries BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA* and GEORGIA, the EFTA countries ICELAND, LIECHTENSTEIN and NORWAY, members of the European Economic Area, as well as ANDORRA and MONACO align themselves with this statement.
* Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.