Mr President, the General Assembly, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
This week marks one year since Russia started its illegal invasion of Ukraine.
Everyone knows. This was and remains a clear-cut case of aggression by a permanent member of the Security Council. This is Russia. Everybody knows.
A blatant violation of international law and the principles of the UN Charter.
The world needs peace in Ukraine and the people of Ukraine deserve peace, after so much suffering.
But not just any peace. We need a peace grounded in the principles of the UN Charter.
This is why we are in this very hall. That is what the resolution, presented by Ukraine, is about.
To reiterate our support for Ukraine and to set out the principles for peace.
I want to stress: this war against Ukraine is not ‘a European issue’. Nor is it about ‘the West versus Russia’.
No, this illegal war concerns everyone: the North, the South, the East and the West. The whole world.
We are here today to reiterate our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and its territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, as for any member of the UN.
Sovereignty. Territorial integrity. These are the principles that Russia is attacking in Ukraine, every day.
These are also the principles we have to uphold everywhere, every day.
If we do not condemn and stop Russia’s actions in Ukraine today, this increases the risk for any other country, elsewhere in the world, to face a similar aggression.
No one can feel safe in a world where the illegal use of force would be normalised.
According to article 51 of the UN Charter, Ukraine has the inherent right to defend itself – just like any other UN member.
Ukraine has the right to defend itself, and to protect its population against daily shelling by the Russian army.
The European Union has always been a peace project. We have been quite successful in bringing peace to the European continent and promoting it around the world. It is central to our DNA. It is in our origin.
When it comes to Ukraine, the real questions today are: what kind of peace. Yes, end the war. But how to end the war? How to achieve it?
The first obvious step to peace is for Russia to stop its attacks.
It must end all hostilities and withdraw all its forces and military equipment from Ukrainian soil.
And it must do so immediately, completely and unconditionally.
Until then, the EU will continue to give Ukraine the support it needs to defend its population. It’s also in accordance with the UN Charter.
We will continue to provide humanitarian and financial assistance.
We will work to hold Russia accountable for its actions and war crimes.
As we know from experience, there can be no lasting peace without accountability.
At the same time, we will continue to support Ukraine’s wish for a just peace, in line with the UN Charter.
The two tracks – supporting Ukraine and looking for peace – go hand in hand. They are not either or. They are not incompatible. On the contrary, they are complementary.
You all know about President Zelenskyy’s Peace Formula.
As EU we support it. And we will work to mobilise the broadest possible international support for it.
Indeed, all of us have a responsibility to work for a just and lasting peace – as this resolution, tabled by Ukraine, sets out.
The UN Secretary General has offered his good offices to bring an end to this war. And we support him.
Others have also contributed to the diplomatic efforts.
The purpose of this resolution is to support and encourage the efforts to look for peace.
We, the European Union has worked in close cooperation with Ukraine and partners throughout the whole preparatory process in a transparent and inclusive manner.
We have been as inclusive and transparent as possible. Amendments and comments made in good faith were duly considered and taken on-board to the extent possible.
We thank all delegations that engaged with us. This for sure has strengthened the text.
By putting forward additional amendments right now, Belarus tries to create confusion on the process, when the text before the membership is a simple call for peace in line with the UN Charter.
These amendments are not made in good faith. They are manipulative since they do not reflect the situation on the ground, which is the unjustified and unprovoked aggression by one MS against another.
We will vote against these amendments and call on all UN Member States to do the same and to support the draft resolution as tabled by Ukraine.
The text before us today is very much in line with the UN Secretary General’s plea at his briefing to the General Assembly on 6 February.
As he rightly put it: “The world needs peace. Peace in line with the United Nations Charter and international law”.
For all these reasons, I ask you to join us in co-sponsoring this UNGA Resolution and vote in favour.
This is a moment for every member of the UN to stand and to be counted.