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

Vienna, 7 December 2023.

Last week, we convened for the second OSCE Ministerial Council meeting since Russia launched its illegal, unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine. Shortly before that, Russia carried out its most extensive drone attack on Kyiv since the beginning of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, leaving thousands of homes without power in harsh winter conditions. While we were meeting in Skopje, Russia continued to terrorise the Ukrainian population with its relentless deliberate attacks on civilians and civilian objects, including civilian infrastructure. On the eve of the Ministerial Council and throughout its duration, Russia launched multiple series of missile and drone attacks across Ukraine, damaging residential buildings, including a historic building in Odesa Oblast.

Against this appalling backdrop, Russia again failed in its attempts to misuse the OSCE Ministerial Council to legitimise its war of aggression and deflect responsibility for its blatant violations of international law. Russia’s groundless claims and false accusations were once again met with resounding condemnation of its brutal war of aggression against Ukraine as a blatant violation of international law, including the UN Charter, and OSCE principles and commitments, as well as the most critical threat to our common security. The continuous overwhelming support among the participating States for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders underlined the non-negotiable and irrevocable nature of the core norms, principles and commitments that lie at the heart of European security.

For a second consecutive year, the Ministerial Council resoundingly called for accountability in relation to all crimes committed by Russia as part of its war of aggression against Ukraine. The urgency of this call was clearly underscored during the Side Event, focusing on accountability and the return of civilian detainees, co-sponsored by all EU Member States. The event featured harrowing testimonies from two of the countless Ukrainian victims, shedding light on the numerous violations of international law that Russia continues to commit as part of its brutal war of aggression, including arbitrary detention, torture, enforced disappearances, and the taking of civilians hostage.

The personal tragedies endured by Tetiana Popovych and Oleksander Kovalchuk, among many others, underscores the need to ensure that there will be no impunity for the crimes committed by Russia as part of its war of aggression against Ukraine, including for the crime of aggression. The OSCE Moscow Mechanism and ODIHR reports remain crucial tools, and we will continue to make full use of them in our pursuit of justice for all Ukrainian victims. We continue to strongly call on Russia to immediately and unconditionally release all those arbitrarily and illegally detained in Russia and in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, including the three OSCE staff members.

As we assess the outcomes of the Skopje Ministerial Council, we must not forget that the threat Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, with the complicity of Belarus, poses to security across the OSCE area is compounded by blatant and persistent violations of human rights by both Russia and Belarus, where external aggression is mirrored by increasingly repressive internal policies.

Mr. Chair, 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 win the just and lasting peace it deserves. To this end, we will continue to provide Ukraine with strong financial, economic, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support.

We reaffirm our unwavering support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. The EU and its Member States will continue their intensified diplomatic outreach efforts and cooperation with Ukraine and other countries 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, with a view to a Global Peace Summit being held.

Russia must stop its information manipulation and interference against Ukraine, other neighbouring countries, such as the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, as well as against any other OSCE participating State. The EU is committed to intensifying its efforts with partners to counter false Russian narratives and disinformation about its war of aggression against Ukraine, as well as destabilisation attempts, in a systematic, long-lasting and comprehensive manner. We reiterate our firm support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova and Georgia within their internationally recognised borders.

In conclusion, we once again call on Russia to immediately stop its war of aggression against Ukraine, and completely and unconditionally withdraw all its forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders. We also condemn the continued military support for Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine provided by Belarus and Iran, as well as the reported arms transfers and military cooperation between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Russia for use in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. We urge all countries not to provide material or other support for this aggression.

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