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

OSCE Permanent Council 1429, Vienna, 22 June 2023

Mr. Chair, we would like to thank the Minister of Environmental Protectionand Natural Resources of Ukraine, Ruslan Strilets, for his highly topical address.

Over the past 2 weeks, Ukraine has been forced to face the devastating humanitarian and environmental consequences of the destruction of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant (HPP) dam. Ukrainian rescuers and local residents have once again demonstrated their immense courage by risking their lives to save others trapped by the downstream flooding. Russianot only failed to provide emergency assistance to the local residents of the affected areas on the left bank of the Dnipro River, currently under its illegal military control, but also denied access to United Nations humanitarian workers. Additionally, according to the Kherson local authorities, at least one person has been reported killed and over a dozen persons, including police, medical, and rescue personnel were wounded in the city as a result of Russian shelling during the evacuation operation. Russia has also continued its indiscriminate attacks against Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, including Kryvyi Rih and Odesa, as well as critical civilian infrastructure across the country. We strongly condemn all these heinous acts committed by Russia. We call on Russia to immediately stop its attacks and grant full, safe and unimpeded access to the affected areas on the left bank of the Dnipro River for humanitarian actors, in particular those from the UN and the ICRC, to help affected local residents.

We remain in touch with the Ukrainian authorities to coordinate the EU’s immediate assistance. From the outset, the EU has mobilised its strategic reserves from the rescEU shelter capacities by deploying three mobile water treatment stations to assist the local authorities in producing potable water. So far, several EU Member States have offered assistance through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, delivering water tankers, water pumps, boats, rescue equipment, generators, and other in-kind assistance to the affected areas in Ukraine. In order to further support humanitarian operations on the ground, the EU has also mobilised an additional €500,000 to address immediate needs. This is in addition to the €200 million in humanitarian aid already allocated for Ukraine in 2023 under the Macro-financial Assistance package.

The EU fully supports the proactive approach of the OSCE in assisting Ukraine in addressing the humanitarian, environmental and economic consequences of the destruction of the Kakhovka HPP dam. In this context, we also welcome the convening of the special meeting of the OSCE’s Economic and Environmental Committee on 19 June.

The destruction of the Kakhovka HPP dam has also resulted in dropping water levels affecting access to critical cooling water for the reactors of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), putting its nuclear security and safety systems at risk. We reiterate our support for the efforts of IAEA Director General Grossi, who recently visited the site, in preserving its integrity, in full respect of Ukraine's sovereignty. We deplore Russia’s continued transformation of the ZNPP into a military base and the reported ongoing attacks on Ukrainian armed forces from that location. We strongly call on Russia to withdraw all its military equipment and its personnel, including that of ROSATOM from the ZNPP, and return full control to its rightful owner, Ukraine. Russia bears full responsibility for the current situation, which significantly raises the risk of a nuclear incident or accident.

As demonstrated during the Ukraine Recovery Conference in London on 21-22 June and the recent Ramstein format meeting on 15 June in Brussels, we will continue to stand with Ukraine and its people, together with our international partners, for as long as it takes for Ukraine to rightfully defend itself against Russia’s illegal, unjustified, unprovoked and brutal war of aggression and restore Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. To this end, we will continue to provide Ukraine with long-term political, financial, economic, humanitarian, legal and military support.

On 20 June, the international community observed World Refugee Day. For the second consecutive year, our thoughts are especially with the people of Ukraine who have fled Russia’s brutal war against their homeland. Since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion, millions of Ukrainians, notably women and children, have found shelter in EU Member States, where they also have access to housing, medical care, employment, education and other services. We will continue to provide the Ukrainian people, both within and outside Ukraine, with the necessary support, including through the EU Temporary Protection Mechanism.

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.

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.

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 Ukraine.


The Candidate Countries NORTH MACEDONIA*, MONTENEGRO*, ALBANIA*, UKRAINE, the REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA, and BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA*, the 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 statement.
* North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.