I have the honour to speak on behalf of the five Nordic countries, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden – and my own country Denmark.
The Nordics would like to highlight two points: (1) Russia’s attacks on civilian infrastructure and violations of international humanitarian law; and (2) Russia’s actions continue to exacerbate global food insecurity.
The Nordic countries condemn Russia’s continuing war of aggression against Ukraine, causing devastating bloodshed and damage for civilians and civilian infrastructure. These attacks are unacceptable.
The Ukrainian population faces hardship following the loss of lives, injuries, and the destruction and devastation of civilian infrastructure and the environment caused by Russia’s war of aggression. Since 10 October, Russian armed forces have once again carried out large-scale attacks against Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, resulting in electricity, heating and water cuts. It has affected millions of people. Recalling Russia’s systematic attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure last winter, we are deeply concerned that Russia will carry out similar attacks this winter.
Russia must end the bloodshed and destruction by bringing an end to this war and immediately and unconditionally withdrawing its troops from the entire territory of Ukraine.
We reiterate that directing military attacks against civilians or civilian objects constitute a violation of international humanitarian law and must stop.
The Nordic countries are committed to addressing conflict-induced food insecurity and the threat of famine, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2417. According to the Global Report on Food Crises, Russia’s actions continue to exacerbate global food insecurity. Overall, the number of people experiencing acute food insecurity continues the rise at alarming speed, with more than one third of a billion people facing acute hunger globally. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine contributes to this increase.
We deplore Russia’s unilateral withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain initiative and its unwillingness to reengage in a new agreement despite extensive diplomatic efforts made by the UN and Türkiye. Furthermore, we condemn the targeted attacks on grain storage structures across Ukraine as well as Russia’s actions to hinder the navigational rights and freedoms in the Black Sea.
As compensation for the food insecurity caused by Russia, Russia has offered 1 million tons of grain. This is in comparison to the nearly 33 million tons that were exported through the Black Sea Grain Initiative and which actually contributed to stabilizing global grain prices. We tend to agree with President Ramaphosa of South Africa – we prefer to keep the Black Sea open to trade.
While Russia’s actions demonstrate a cynical approach to food security, Ukraine has showed impressive efforts to address the challenges of global food insecurity. First, by successfully exporting its grain via the “Ukraine corridor” for civil cargo ships. Second, for hosting the 2nd International Summit on Food Security in Kyiv later this week, on 25 November. And third, by focusing on food insecurity as one of the ten tracks in the Ukrainian Peace Formula. The Nordic countries fully support all three initiatives.
The anniversary of Holodomor – a crime of unfathomable proportions – is a tragic reminder of the consequences of the weaponisation of food to all of us. As we commemorate the millions of victims of Holodomor, we do so not only to raise awareness about this historical tragedy, but also to motivate the international community to avoid similar tragedies, and to help ensure respect for international law. That is why we emphasize the necessity to ensure secure, stable and free navigation in the Black Sea as this is essential to sustainable grain exports and thereby stable food prices.
The Nordics remain steadfast in our support to Ukraine and its people. We remain committed to providing humanitarian assistance in line with the humanitarian principles. And we reaffirm our support for a just peace, based on international law, including the UN Charter, ensuring the full respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. This is why we support Ukraine’s Peace Formula and encourage others to do the same.
I thank you, President.