Arria: Ukraine

Statement by Minister Counsellor Meena Syed in the Arria Formula meeting on Ukraine, 6 May 2022.

Allow me at the outset to express Norway’s concern regarding the framing of the topic for today’s discussion and the allegations presented in the concept note.

Yet again we are witnessing the Russian Federation’s misuse of the United Nations – and its privileged position within it – as a platform for disinformation, and as a smokescreen to draw attention away from the brutal warfare it is waging against the Ukrainian people.

The intensity of this disinformation campaign is alarming.

Russia has failed to offer any credible evidence for its accusations, or to cooperate with international bodies tasked with gathering facts and documentation. Russia has instead made unsubstantiated claims and insinuations.

Today’s meeting is nothing more than another attempt to spread confusion and deflect attention from Russia’s role as aggressor in the illegal invasion of Ukraine.

The UN Charter applies to all nations - including Russia.

There is no doubt that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a blatant violation of international law, including the UN Charter. It is not a “special military operation”. It is an illegal aggression against another sovereign country. It is a war of choice.

Norway is appalled by Russia’s methods of warfare.

Numerous credible reports have described in horrible detail the relentless attacks and unimaginable atrocities committed against civilians. These atrocities shock the very conscience of humanity.

There are clear and abundant indications of systematic, and massive scale war crimes being committed by the Russian Armed Forces and their proxies-as outlined in the OSCE Moscow Mechanism report.

The adoption by the General Assembly of the resolution “Aggression against Ukraine”, calling on all parties to strictly respect international humanitarian law and international human rights law, sent an important signal from the international community:

Violations of international law cannot go unchallenged. International law is not optional. All reports of atrocities must be properly investigated, and the perpetrators of any crimes be brought to justice.

The same resolution clearly names Russia as the aggressor. This is a fundamental fact.

We will not be fooled by Russia’s attempts to divert attention from its own crimes by shamelessly launching a barrage of accusations at the very State it has attacked.