1. Madam Chair, another week of Russia’s illegal, unprovoked and unjustified war ofaggression against Ukraine has brought further devastation and suffering to theUkrainian people. Just last Friday, the Independent International Commission ofInquiry on Ukraine published its latest findings: ‘Russian authorities havecommitted indiscriminate attacks and the war crimes of torture, rape and othersexual violence, and deportation of children to the Russian Federation’. Russia,an OSCE participating State, is indeed persistently violating international law, inparticular international humanitarian law and OSCE key principles. We condemnthese acts in the strongest possible terms.
2. Russia does not only wage its war on the ground in Ukraine but also conductsother operations in cyber space. We also witness, not only in this Forum, howRussia uses disinformation and hybrid campaigns as another element of itsreprehensible warfare, and how devastating these can be. In addition, the Kremlinis ashamedly weaponising food as part of its war campaign against Ukraine. Welook forward to discussing the point on information integrity in the upcomingdedicated security dialogue which has been very timely proposed by the Canadianchairpersonship.
3. To counter Russian cyber and hybrid threats we will continue working onincreasing resilience, cyber defence and bolstering defence against hybrid threatssuch as disinformation campaigns. In a recent example from early October, cyberinstruction for the cyber defence units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was initiatedas part of the European Peace Facility assistance measure implemented byEstonia. This initiative will boost Ukraine’s cyber defence capacity, and reinforcethe EU and its Member States’ comprehensive cooperation with Ukraine onsecurity and defence.
4. In this context, we welcome that the Chairpersonship of North Macedonia organised the annual OSCE-wide Cyber/ICT Security Conference in Skopje, which took place yesterday and the day before. In view of Russia’s numerous cyber-attacks against Ukraine, it remains important and timely to keep cyber security high on the OSCE's agenda.
5. Russia’s weaponisation of food is putting global food security at risk, notably by increasing the risk of starvation and malnutrition. The Russian Federation refused to renew the Black Sea Grain Initiative. The EU and its Member States remain intent on strengthening the Solidarity Lanes as the most sustainable and solid solution for Ukraine to export its grain to world markets, even in the absence of the Black Sea corridor. The EU and its Member States continue to support the efforts of the United Nations and Ukraine to facilitate the exports of Ukrainian grain and other agricultural products to global markets.
6. Russia’s war of aggression in all its forms continues to inflict shocking and interminable destruction on the territory of Ukraine and inconceivable suffering on the Ukrainian people. Russia must compensate Ukraine and Ukrainians for all the devastation, when this terrible outrage is over. The principle of ‘the aggressor pays the damage’ must be upheld.
7. Madame Chair, the EU and its Member States reiterate that Russia must immediately stop its war of aggression, and completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders. We also reiterate our strong call on the Belarusian authorities to stop providing support to Russia’s war of aggression, and to abide by their international obligations.
The Candidate Countries NORTH MACEDONIA*, MONTENEGRO*, ALBANIA*, UKRAINE, REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA and BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA*, the Potential Candidate Country GEORGIA, the EFTA countries ICELAND, LIECHTENSTEIN and NORWAY, the members of the European Economic Area, as well as ANDORRA and SAN MARINO align themselves with this statement.
* North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.