SC: Joint Nordic Statement on the Maintenance of Peace and Security in Ukraine

Statement delivered by Sweden's Permanent representative Ambassador Anna Karin Eneström on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

Thank you, President.

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the five Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway – and my own country Sweden.

We thank the presidency for the opportunity to address the Council, and Assistant Secretary-General Joyce Msuya for her valuable update.

Yesterday marked one hundred and nineteen weeks since the start of Russia’s brutal and illegal full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Every day, the war continues to cause death and destruction.

Millions have been forced to flee and thousands have been killed or injured. Homes have been destroyed, incomes lost and futures shattered. Today almost 15 million Ukrainians, 40% of the population, are in need of humanitarian aid.

In parts of Ukraine, people have endured more than 10 years of Russian aggression. Cities have been annihilated and people are unable to cover their most basic needs. Internally displaced persons are struggling to find an income and a durable living situation. While the humanitarian situation is deteriorating, humanitarian funding to Ukraine is declining. All in all, the humanitarian space is shrinking, hindering access to the people most in need.

Meanwhile, Russia continues its attacks all over Ukraine. As we speak, Russia’s dreadful campaign of attacks against the Kharkiv region continues. These attacks are driving up humanitarian needs and underscoring the brutality and human suffering of Russia’s war of aggression.

Across Ukraine, Russia has reportedly destroyed 106 hospitals, 109 churches and 708 schools. Russia’s unacceptable and brutal targeted attacks against civilians and energy infrastructure have caused massive damage. Over the past weeks, large-scale attacks have forced Ukraine to impose emergency power shutdowns across most of the country. And while winter might feel far away, there are already fears of severe shortages of electricity, heating and water in the coming cold season. We call on Russia to immediately cease its attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in accordance with international humanitarian law.

The message must be clear: Russia must stop its invasion, withdraw its forces, and pay due compensation for the damages and traumas caused.

We, the Nordics, are committed to continue our humanitarian support to Ukraine. And as we assist Ukraine in meeting these challenges, we want to highlight the following:

  1. Locally led humanitarian response is vital to assist war-affected populations. Recent weeks in Kharkiv have underlined the essential role played by local actors in the humanitarian response. International efforts must be complementary to the service delivery of Ukrainian authorities and local organizations. Consequently, we Nordics have stepped up the support for Ukrainian responders, through our humanitarian partners.
  2. Our efforts demand a holistic approach. While reconstruction support can help people rebuild their lives, Russia’s attacks continue, and we must carry on providing humanitarian assistance in parallel with reconstruction. It is therefore important that we continue to ensure solid and effective bridges between humanitarian assistance and reconstruction efforts. We, the Nordics, have stepped up support to humanitarian demining, which enables access for humanitarian actors and lays the foundations for recovery and reconstruction. We urgently call for full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to all areas in Ukraine, including those temporarily occupied by Russia.
  3. Lastly, the Summit on Peace in Ukraine taking place in Switzerland later this month will address humanitarian issues, with a focus on the return of prisoners of war, children and civilians, as well as food security and nuclear security. All Nordic countries will participate at the highest level, signifying our firm support to President Zelensky’s Peace Formula and the path towards a just and lasting peace in accordance with international law. We count on your strong support.

Thank you.