Let me first thank the briefers for their candid words to the Council today. Their accounts leave no doubt about the devastation this war has brought upon the people of Ukraine.
Norway will continue to stand with Ukraine, and the Ukrainian people, against this Russian aggression, which is a gross violation of international law, and the UN Charter.
We are alarmed by the escalation, and brutality, of the recent Russian attacks on civilians, and civilian infrastructure, with missiles and drones. These attacks – which seem deliberate – have killed civilians and hit several power facilities across Ukraine. Damage to energy infrastructure brings great humanitarian harm, and will certainly cause illness and death when the cold winter arrives.
The attacks have no military purpose. The aim seems to be to terrorize the population.
They are illegal and may constitute war crimes. Those responsible must be personally held to account.
Russia’s devastating attacks against cities and urban areas over the last eight months have killed and maimed civilians, including children, and led to massive displacement - both internally and across borders. We are concerned about sexual and gender-based violence and human trafficking, that women and unaccompanied children are particularly exposed to. We must facilitate their return, the delivery of essential services, and mitigate the long-term effects that Russia’s war has imposed on them.
The Independent International Commission of Inquiry has concluded that violations of human rights and international humanitarian law amounting to war crimes, have been committed by Russian armed forces.
The killing of civilians, mass graves, rape, and other forms of sexual violence, forced disappearances and torture have all been recorded.
Along with reports of deportations to Russia, and adjustments to procedures to allow Russians to adopt Ukrainian children without the consent of their parents. And more.
The victims deserve justice. Survivors must be cared for. And those responsible must be held accountable.
But to stop these grotesque violations in the first place, this war must come to an end.
Russia must withdraw its troops from within the internationally recognised borders of Ukraine and stop the war.
Norway also remains concerned by the many unaccounted for Prisoners of War and others who are missing because of this conflict.
We call on the parties, at all levels, to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law. This includes support for the International Committee of the Red Cross in fulfilling their unique mandate as laid out in the Geneva Conventions, including visiting Prisoners of War.
We commend the international and national humanitarian responders for their bravery in delivering humanitarian protection and assistance to those in need.
It is critical that humanitarian actors have full, safe, and unhindered access to all those in need. We are particularly concerned about the situation for the elderly, disabled and children in conflict-affected areas.
While this war is raging, the world is facing a food crisis. Continuation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative is vital, and we appreciate the tireless efforts of the Secretary-General. In times of war, we need this beacon of hope.