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

OSCE Permanent Council 1425, Vienna, 1 June 2023

1. Russia has been waging its illegal, imperialistic and brutal war of aggression
against Ukraine and its people for more than 15 months. Yesterday, at least
three people, including a child, were killed after Russia launched another
wave of ballistic missile strikes on Kyiv overnight. Another twelve civilians,
including a child, were reportedly injured. Failing to achieve any significant
gains on the battlefield and failing to break Ukraine's resolve to defend itself
against Russia's full-scale invasion, the Kremlin continues its abhorrent
attempts to terrorise Ukrainian civilians. On 26 May, Russia attacked a medical facility in Dnipro, killing four civilians and injuring more than thirty, including at least eight doctors. On 28 May, Russia attempted to mar Kyiv’s founding day with the largest drone attack since the beginning of its illegal war, using a total of 54 Shahed drones on Ukraine’s capital. On 29 and 30 May, Russia once again targeted Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, launching over 40 cruise and ballistic missiles and 66 Shahed drones in total. Tragically, at least one civilian was killed and at least four others were injured. In just the last month of May, Kyiv has been targeted eighteen times.

2. The EU echoes the OSCE leaders in their strong condemnation of this
senseless violence and calls on the Russian Federation to immediately
cease these atrocious acts, respect international law, and uphold the
principles and commitments of the OSCE. We share the Ukrainian leadership’s determination to overcome this reprehensible conduct. We remain firmly committed to holding all those responsible to account.

3. Today, on 1 June, as the world observes the International Day for the
Protection of Children, our thoughts are with the Ukrainian children that
continue to suffer the devastating consequences of Russia's war of
aggression against their homeland. According to the Office of the
Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Russia’s full scale invasion of Ukraine has
resulted in the death of at least 483 Ukrainian children, with at least 986
injured and 394 reported missing. Moreover, there have been 19,484
confirmed cases of deported children, of which 12,936 have been located
and 371 have been returned home. We condemn in the strongest possible
terms Russia’s actions deliberately targeting Ukrainian children, including
their forcible transfer within parts of Ukraine’s territory temporarily occupied
by Russia and/or their unlawful deportation to Russia, as well as attempts
to impose a so-called “re-education”, as evidenced in the recent Moscow
Mechanism report. This apparently systematic practice may amount to a
crime against humanity. Reports about forcible transfers of Ukrainian
children to Belarus should also be investigated and any perpetrators must
be brought to justice. We demand that Russia ceases these illegal activities
immediately, and ensures the safe return of all Ukrainian children to their
homes or legal guardians in Ukraine. In this context, we reiterate our support
to the investigations by the ICC Prosecutor in Ukraine and call for full
cooperation by all State Parties. The perpetrators of war crimes or crimes
against humanity, as well as any responsible State officials and military
leaders, must be and will be held accountable according to international law.

4. The EU is appalled by the reports that two Ukrainian minors, Tihran
Ohannisian and Mykyta Khanhanov, were detained and subjected to torture
in the illegally occupied Ukrainian city of Berdiansk by Russia, and now face
severe sentences ranging from 10 to 20 years in prison. We demand their
immediate and unconditional release. Furthermore, we call on Russia to
immediately cease its systematic mistreatment of Ukrainian prisoners of war
and civilian hostages in the temporarily and illegally occupied territory of
Ukraine and in Russia, and demand the immediate release of all individuals
unlawfully deprived of their liberty, including the three unlawfully detained OSCE staff members. Russia must ensure that all Ukrainians in Russian
captivity are treated in full compliance with international humanitarian law.

5. We will continue to stand with Ukraine and its people for as long as it takes
for Ukraine to rightfully defend itself against Russia’s brutal war of
aggression and restore Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within
its internationally recognised borders. To that end, we will continue
providing Ukraine with long-term political, financial, economic,
humanitarian, legal and military support. We stand ready to support the
expansion of OSCE programmatic activities on the ground in Ukraine in line
with the OSCE’s comprehensive approach to security, which is the
organisation’s unique strength.

6. The EU reaffirms its support for President Zelenskyy’s initiative for a just
peace, and we will continue working with Ukraine on the 10-point peace
plan. We emphasise once again that any diplomatic solution to end Russia’s
illegal war of aggression must be based on full respect for the rules,
principles and norms of international law, including those enshrined in the
UN Charter, and the founding documents of the OSCE, including the
Helsinki Final Act, and the Paris Charter.

7. With its war, Russia is flagrantly violating the most fundamental rules,
principles and norms of international law, including those enshrined in the
UN Charter and the founding documents of the OSCE. The Belarusian
regime is an accomplice in Russia’s illegal and unprovoked war of
aggression against Ukraine. We call on the Belarusian authorities to put an
immediate end to their support of Russia's war, and reverse decisions that
can only contribute to heightening tensions in the region, and undermine
Belarus’ sovereignty. Any attempt to further escalate the situation will be
met by a strong and coordinated reaction.

8. The EU reiterates its unwavering support for Ukraine‘s independence,
sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised
borders. We demand that Russia ceases its illegal war of aggression
against Ukraine and immediately withdraws all its military forces, proxies, and equipment, unconditionally and entirely, from the whole territory of

Potential Candidate Country GEORGIA, and the EFTA countries ICELAND,
LIECHTENSTEIN and NORWAY, members of the European Economic Area, as
well as ANDORRA, MONACO and SAN MARINO align themselves with this

* North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina continue
to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.