As Russian Federation’s Invasion of Ukraine Creates New Global Era, Member States Must Take Sides, Choose between Peace, Aggression, General Assembly Hears
Delegates Urge All Parties to Respect Principles of United Nations Charter, Speakers Representing Small, Developing States Decry ‘Might Makes Right’ Concept
At the dawn of a new era forced upon the world by the Russian Federation’s war in Ukraine, Member States must now take sides and choose between peace and aggression, delegates said today as the General Assembly moved into the second day of its emergency special session.
[The emergency special session — the eleventh called since the founding of the United Nations — opened on 28 February, meeting less than 24 hours after being mandated to do so by a vote in the Security Council, following its failure to adopt a resolution condemning the Russian Federation’s recent actions in Ukraine. See Press Releases SC/14808 and SC/14809 for details.]
With 115 of the United Nations 193 Member States scheduled to address the emergency session, held from 28 February to 2 March, delegates today sounded calls to end the ongoing bombings and attacks on civilians in Ukraine and for all parties to respect the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, especially provisions on security and peace among countries. (See Press Release GA/12404 for details on the session’s opening day.)
“The fate of Ukraine is our fate; today, we are all Ukrainians,” said Luxembourg’s representative, mirroring a thread of solidarity woven throughout the day-long meeting amid numerous calls for Member States to support the Assembly’s draft resolution calling for an end to the conflict. Supporting the proposed resolution means voting to save lives, he said, noting Luxembourg’s co-sponsorship of the draft that, among other things, calls for peace talks and the full withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine.
Many other delegates also announced their co-sponsorship of the draft, with Spain’s representative saying that its subject centres on the sovereignty of Ukraine, the defence of peace and the diplomatic resolution of conflict, as well as “the very reason the United Nations exists”. Echoing broad condemnations of the invasion of Ukraine, he said: “Every minute of resistance makes the attackers’ self-justification vanish into thin air.”
Germany’s delegate said the Russian Federation’s war marks the dawn of a new era, and today, there is a new reality that President Vladimir Putin has forced upon the world, requiring all States to make firm decisions and take a side. Germany will always be committed to diplomacy, but when peaceful approaches come under attack, she said “we must act responsibly and unite for peace”. As the Assembly prepares to vote on the draft resolution, she stated that: “Now, we all have to choose between peace and aggression, between justice and the will of the strongest, between taking action and turning a blind eye.” While Germany is providing food, aid and shelter for refugees, she said it has decided to support Ukraine militarily to protect itself, in line with Article 51 of the Charter.
Speakers roundly called for an end to violence and a start to constructive peace talks. Some drew attention to the conflict’s origin. The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said the root cause of the current situation rests with the United States and other Western countries. These States have systematically undermined the European security environment by defying the Russian Federation’s reasonable demand for legal security guarantees and pursuing the eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Recalling the violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya by the United States and the West under the pretext of international peace and security, he said that it is “absurd” for such countries to mention respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity in the context of the Ukrainian situation.
Some delegates representing small States decried the “might makes right” concept, which many agreed must be replaced with the guiding principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
“This is a crisis for all of us, and we all must speak out for diplomacy and support this resolution,” said the representative of Antigua and Barbuda. The international community has the responsibility to speak out, “lest our silence be misconstrued as consent”. As such, he called on all countries — especially small island States — to affirm that “might is not right”.
Amid widespread condemnation of continued bombing and shelling across Ukraine that has seen more than 500,000 civilians fleeing the violence, some delegates shared their own experiences with war, recalling the horrors that faced their citizens.
“My country still exists today because the peoples of the United Nations at the time stood up immediately to the cries of the innocent lives,” said the representative of the Republic of Korea, adding that: “This is why my delegation does not see the situation in Ukraine as some distant tragedy.”
Many delegates announced pledges of humanitarian assistance to help the people of Ukraine, with some neighbouring States saying they were ramping up border capacities to swiftly help those fleeing the violence. Some speakers called attention to racist practices targeting people of African descent who are stuck in Ukraine, trying to escape to safety.
The representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines expressed dismay that people of African descent are being singled out unfairly as the refugee crisis unfolds, calling for equal, fair treatment of all peoples. Echoing that call, South Africa’s representative urged European countries to take steps to resolve the current situation whereby some African nationals and people of African descent at the borders of Ukraine are not allowed to cross and move to safety.
Referring to efforts to welcome those fleeing Ukraine, Hungary’s representative said all cases of discrimination will be investigated and perpetrators held accountable. Highlighting ongoing initiatives to respond to requests from nations to evacuate their citizens from Ukraine, she said Hungary has allowed entrance for all those fleeing war without restrictions or discrimination as to race, ethnicity, religion or country of origin.
Many speakers stressed the importance of human rights and adhering to the founding principles of the United Nations Charter. Recalling that the Charter has been thrown out the window when it has suited powerful States, Ghana’s delegate stated that: “Across this hall and throughout our Organization’s history, there is enough blame to go round.” However, he warned against opening old wounds, which only creates fresh ones. Indeed, given the Security Council’s constraints, he stated that it is now the General Assembly’s responsibility to act.
Agreeing, Jamaica’s delegate said that inaction by the international community would be unacceptable, adding that: “In the eternal and inspiring words of Bob Marley, therefore, let us all get up and stand up for the rights of all the people of Ukraine, because today — we are all Ukraine.”
Also delivering statements today were representatives of Colombia, Paraguay, Dominican Republic, Suriname, Brunei Darussalam, Palau, Antigua and Barbuda, Federated States of Micronesia, Australia, Guyana, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Monaco, Belize, Gabon, Cuba, Samoa, Philippines, Cabo Verde, Malta, Malaysia, Kuwait, Malawi, Marshall Islands, Israel, Andorra, Côte d’Ivoire, Republic of Moldova, Nepal, Grenada, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Argentina, Thailand, Niger, Nicaragua, Romania, Montenegro, San Marino, Cyprus, Portugal, Zambia, Bangladesh, North Macedonia, Vanuatu, Haiti, Tonga, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Mauritius, Tunisia and Qatar.
The General Assembly will reconvene Wednesday, 2 March, at 10 a.m. to continue its emergency special session.
MARTA LUCÍA RAMÍREZ, Vice-President and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Colombia, said the current situation in Ukraine is harming a United Nations Member State, violating the Ukrainian people’s rights and threatening peace in Europe and the world. Hundreds of thousands are fleeing, a financial panic has emerged worldwide and the terrible violations must be addressed, with the Russian Federation held accountable for its actions. Noting that Colombia has co-sponsored the draft resolution, she added that all States should impose economic sanctions against the aggressor. Indeed, totalitarian regimes require strong action against them. All existing mechanisms must be employed to ensure compliance with agreements made by nuclear-weapon States, given the recent related threats. Commending the International Criminal Court decision to investigate allegations of possible genocide, she said that: “Today, we must be united for peace.” It would be unacceptable — with an ongoing pandemic — for an arms race to emerge. Instead, the world must focus on fighting poverty, hunger and climate change, while asserting that it does not accept threats. The Russian Federation cannot turn back the clock to a time when empires flourished at the cost of other people’s rights, she said, adding that the world would not accept a return to the past.
JULIO CÉSAR ARRIOLA RAMÍREZ (Paraguay) underlined the urgent need for Security Council reform, given the current situation. Amid threats of the use of nuclear weapons, he said there is no justification for this type of intimidation, calling on possessor States to comply with their commitments to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Paraguay — which co-sponsored the draft resolution — calls for a cessation of violence. The Security Council must discharge its functions, and efforts must be made to re-establish peace and security while relieving the pain and suffering of those affected. Welcoming the Security Council meeting on 28 February to determine the humanitarian needs of Ukrainians, he called for an urgent response to those in vulnerable situations. Paraguay, as a Human Rights Council member, calls for the full respect of the human rights of Ukrainians. There is also a need to return to the negotiation process based on current international mechanisms, the Charter of the United Nations and relevant resolutions. Dialogue is the only path open, he said, expressing hope that talks on 28 February will advance the process.
JOSÉ ALFONSO BLANCO CONDE (Dominican Republic) said that as his President has stated, “our country is shaken by the military invasion of Russia against the people of Ukraine”. The Russian Federation is violating the Charter of the United Nations, the Minsk agreements and the Budapest Memorandum, as well as countless resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly. It is also violating the core principles of international law, including the commitment to resolve disputes through peaceful means and to refrain from the use of force, he said, calling for priority to be given to diplomatic negotiations. After the COVID-19 pandemic, the world does not want any further deaths and grief. “All countries, big and small, have the responsibility and the duty to respect the Charter of the United Nations,” he said, underscoring that “these values are non-negotiable”. He called on all nations to respect the wish of Ukraine to live in peace. “Today, humanity is waiting for us — let us not fail,” he said.
SUNIL ALGRAM SITALDIN (Suriname) said the Russian Federation’s invasion of a sovereign and independent State cannot be accepted under any circumstances and must stop immediately. He urged all parties involved to engage responsibly and practice restraint to prevent destabilization of the region. Welcoming the start of a dialogue between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, he expressed hope that such talks would lead to the end of the war. Expressing concern about the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, he called on all parties to allow and facilitate the safe and unrestrained access of humanitarian assistance to those in need and to protect civilians, including those who are humanitarian personnel and persons in vulnerable situations. He said his country maintains diplomatic relations with both the Russian Federation and Ukraine and shall continue to commit itself to processes of dialogue and diplomacy, which are essential to democracy, peace, stability and security.
NOOR QAMAR SULAIMAN (Brunei Darussalam), expressing concern over the escalation of tensions and military actions in Ukraine, said her country continues to monitor developments there. Condemning any violation of sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of any country, she stressed the importance of upholding the principles of a rules-based framework and respect for international law. She called on all parties directly involved to de-escalate tensions and refrain from acts that may aggravate the situation further, and settle all differences by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international law, and in the interest of maintaining international peace and stability.
ILANA VICTORYA SEID (Palau), associating herself with the Pacific Island Forum, said Ukraine and her country have little in common, yet there is a kinship because they “could be considered close siblings in the birth of nations” as they both became independent in the early 1990s. “If the turns of fate had one of our former colonizers act with the aggression of Russia towards us, citing the justification of historical unity, it would have been our people who would be suffering the atrocities of war we are seeing in Ukraine today,” she said. It might have been a Palauan woman who — on one of the most joyous days of her life — would be forced “to give birth in a bomb shelter against the booming noise of the missile strikes in the background”, she stated. Citing Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin’s self-proclaimed principle of historical unity, she noted the historical past is a part of the fabric of an integrated world, not a perverse excuse to wage an unprovoked war on neighbours. Indeed, Mr. Putin’s words are eerily reminiscent of Adolf Hitler’s justification for the annexation of Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia in the 1930s. Stressing that history shows the international community cannot make concessions to an aggressive power to avoid conflict, she called for all Member States to vote in favour of the resolution. “We cannot stand by as Russia looks to dismantle the rules-based world-order in pursuit of its own narrow self-interest,” she said.
WALTON ALFONSO WEBSON (Antigua and Barbuda) said that on 8 February, his country’s Foreign Minister noted the importance of self-determination and sovereignty, and when those principles are threatened anywhere, the international community has the responsibility to speak out, “lest our silence be misconstrued as consent”. He said the security concerns of the Russian Federation do not justify any use of force or invasion, condemning them in the strongest way possible. Conflict plunges the world further into grave uncertainty while it is only now recovering from the effects of the pandemic. He cited a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) that small island States are suffering a 7.5 per cent rise in essential goods prices. “This is a crisis for all of us, and we all must speak out for diplomacy and support this resolution,” he stated. Noting the Security Council veto had been used selfishly, he called on all countries — especially small island States — to affirm that “might is not right”.
HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana), noting the gravity of the situation in Ukraine, said inaction on the part of the international community in roundly condemning the actions of the Russian Federation would further undermine the pillars “that have held our world together, regardless of its imperfection”. “Indeed, across this hall and throughout our Organization’s history, there is enough blame to go round,” he said, recalling that the Charter has been thrown out the window when it has suited powerful States. However, he warned against opening old wounds, which only creates fresh ones. Given the Security Council’s constraints, it is now the General Assembly’s responsibility to act. “From this hall, the Russian Federation must hear our call for an immediate ceasefire, a withdrawal of its troops from Ukraine and a recommitment to diplomacy and dialogue,” he said, adding that Moscow has been a longstanding friend to Ghana and “it takes true friendship to be candid with one another”.
JANE J. CHIGIYAL (Federated States of Micronesia), aligning herself with the Pacific Islands Forum, underscored that this attack by a Member State on another is not a peacekeeping mission, but a war of aggression. “It is clear beyond any possible doubt who the aggressor is, and who the victim,” she said, adding: “War has a human face and there are no winners.” Against that backdrop, she called for the immediate cessation of hostilities and withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine’s sovereign territory. Further, she stressed that unhindered access to humanitarian assistance and safe passage must be provided to those seeking it. Noting that the principles enshrined within her country’s Constitution are closely related to those in the Charter of the United Nations, she expressed deep concern over the “abhorrent acts of the Russian Federation” and recalled that her Government has severed diplomatic relations with that country in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. She went on to urge parties to take the path of peaceful dialogue.
MITCHELL FIFIELD (Australia), condemning the Russian Federation’s unprovoked, unjustified aggression against Ukraine, stressed that “there is no provocation and there is no just cause that Russia is seeking to pursue”. These are unilateral, hostile actions and, holding up a copy of the Charter of the United Nations, he said that, despite the obligation to maintain international peace and security, “Russia has chosen war”. Noting that Moscow has refused to engage in genuine dialogue over its security concerns, he added: “Let’s be clear — Russia is violating its obligations under the Charter.” In response, Australia has announced a range of sanctions imposing real costs on Moscow — reflecting the grave nature of the latter’s conduct — and has made monetary contributions to provide non-lethal equipment and humanitarian support to Ukraine. Canberra stands ready to help further as needs rise. He went on to call for the immediate withdrawal of the Russian military, the cessation of military action and a peace “that allows the people of Ukraine to live according to their own rules”.
CAROLYN RODRIGUES-BIRKETT (Guyana), aligning herself with the statements given by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on 14 and 24 February, said her country is gravely concerned about the Russian Federation’s recent military intervention, which violates the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. She called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and a return to diplomacy. The Government of Guyana deplores the threat or use of force and urges a peaceful resolution of the current differences, in consensus with the rule of international law and the provisions of the Charter. The current military action in Ukraine is contrary to the principles of respect for territorial integrity, sovereignty and the non-interference in the internal affairs of another sovereign State. “The aggression against Ukraine is a threat to the region and countries everywhere,” she said. Guyana supports the Secretary-General’s efforts to bring a speedy resolution to the situation in Ukraine and cease the threat to international peace and security.
BRIAN CHRISTOPHER MANLEY WALLACE (Jamaica) called for the immediate and complete withdrawal of Russian military forces from the territory of Ukraine, as that presence violates the principles enshrined in the Charter both in word and spirit — egregious actions, especially given its position as a permanent member of the Security Council, the very body mandated to maintain international peace and security. As a small island State, Jamaica recognizes that the international legal framework and the Charter are designed to provide a safe environment for all nations regardless of size or stature, and inaction by the international community would be unacceptable. Member States have “committed to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,” he said, and “the ongoing incursions in Ukraine are a violation of that sacred promise.” Expressing concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation, he called on all parties to ensure that displaced persons, both Ukrainian and non-citizens, are allowed safe and unfettered passage to their chosen destinations. “In the eternal and inspiring words of Bob Marley, therefore, let us all get up and stand up for the rights of all the people of Ukraine, because today — we are all Ukraine,” he said.
OLIVIER MAES (Luxembourg), aligning himself with the European Union, said the Russian Federation’s brutal, unjustifiable, criminal ongoing aggression attacks the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and calls into question the principles of the United Nations and multilateralism. The Russian Federation’s veto on 25 February caused the Security Council to fail in discharging its mandate. The General Assembly must now fulfil its own responsibility. Noting Luxembourg’s co-sponsorship of the current draft resolution that, among other things, calls for the full withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine and peace talks to end the conflict, he said supporting it means voting to save lives. At this critical security juncture in Europe and the world, nothing justifies the use of nuclear weapons. Demanding that Belarus and the Russian Federation comply with international law, he said crimes must not go unpunished. Welcoming the International Criminal Court decision to launch an investigation and the Human Rights Council’s efforts to set up an inquiry, he called on the Russian Federation to comply with the recent European Court of Human Rights’ call on Moscow to stop the bombings. For its part, Luxembourg’s support includes contributing €1 million to humanitarian efforts, preparing to host refugees, providing medicine and equipment to Ukraine and imposing sanctions against the Russian Federation, he said, emphasizing that: “The fate of Ukraine is our fate; today, we are all Ukrainians.”
MAX HUFANEN RAI (Papua New Guinea), associating himself with the Pacific Island Forum, said this emergency session was convened only because the Security Council failed to live up to its core responsibilities. Disappointed at the failure of some entrusted Council members to uphold sacrosanct Charter principles, he said: “looking the other way is not what we expect” of them, given that they do not only represent their own delegations’ interests. It is times such as this that bring to the fore and underscore long overdue Council reform of the veto power and an archaic body that remains a prisoner of its past to the detriment of collective security, as has been regrettably witnessed in Ukraine, he said. Urging the Russian Federation to withdraw immediately from Ukraine, he welcomed ongoing efforts for dialogue. Rebuilding trust, confidence and mutual respect between all parties cannot be at the expense of accountability for actions and actors involved in the conflict. Calling for the safe passage of aid workers and supplies, he thanked neighbouring nations for opening borders and hearts to those seeking refuge. Papua New Guinea fully supports, endorses and co-sponsored the draft resolution, as it did for the Council resolution that was vetoed on 25 February and the “Uniting for Peace” resolution adopted two days later.
SEBASTIANA BARROS (Timor-Leste) said her delegation co-sponsored the draft resolution based on its belief that the actions unfolding over the past days violate international humanitarian and human rights laws, escalating into a full war that has taken a heavy toll on the civilian population. Now it is the General Assembly’s duty to stand up and defend the core foundations of the United Nations. Recalling Timor-Leste’s experience of pain and suffering caused by a military attack, she said her country came from the ashes of forced occupation for years and knows that war brings benefits to no one. Urging all parties to the conflict to agree to an immediate ceasefire and pursue a diplomatic solution, she said that the Organization’s most crucial task is maintaining peace and security. At the same time, it must protect the civilian population and create conditions for peace, she said, thanking the Secretary-General and all United Nations agencies and partners for their continuous support to the civilian population through its humanitarian operation efforts.
INGA RHONDA KING (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) cited the Russian Federation’s legitimate security concerns and perspective on the Donbas region and the need for diplomatic efforts thoroughly addressing them. However, the “special military operation” cannot reasonably be justified, as it will exacerbate human suffering across the globe, with no Member State immune from the ripple effect. Noting the existence of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as a sovereign and independent nation is owed to the international, sacrosanct norms and non-negotiable principles of the Charter, she urged strict adherence to them, reiterating calls by CARICOM and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) for the pacific settlement of disputes. While the Russian Federation has historically been a defender of the purposes and principles of the Charter, she unequivocally insisted that it immediately withdraw its forces from Ukraine. “History has taught us that peace is a great cause, and great causes have never been won by doubtful men or women,” she affirmed. She expressed dismay that people of African descent are being singled out unfairly as the refugee crisis unfolds, calling for equal fair treatment of all peoples.
ISABELLE F. PICCO (Monaco), associating herself with the European Union, said that her country is committed to respect for international law and the Charter of the United Nations. In the General Assembly, where each State has one vote, Monaco will use its vote to support Ukraine. She expressed her grave concern that the population of Ukraine is being displaced as it flees violence. The situation is worsening rapidly and civilians are suffering, she said, emphasizing that “the Geneva conventions and their additional protocols impose a distinction between civilians and combatants and ban using civilians as targets”. Dialogue based on international law and the principles of the Charter is the only way to find an end to the war, she said, noting that her delegation will vote in favour of the resolution.
AGUSTÍN SANTOS MARAVER (Spain), associating himself with the European Union, said that the General Assembly is meeting because the Security Council has been blocked by the Russian Federation’s veto. By exercising the veto, Moscow said it was doing so to balance the interest of the permanent members of the Council, he said, asking whether that balance — as interpreted by one member — is more important than the Charter of the United Nations. “Are some Member States more equal than others?” he questioned, stressing that “the veto is an anachronism — we must get rid of it.” The resolution that the General Assembly is debating has as its subject the sovereignty of Ukraine, the defence of peace and the diplomatic resolution of conflict, as well as “the very reason the United Nations exists”. He roundly condemned the invasion of Ukraine and expressed his admiration of those who were acting against the war. “Every minute of resistance makes the attackers self-justification vanish into thin air,” he said.
ALFONSO GAHONA (Belize) said the Russian Federation’s attack on Ukraine is an attack on the Charter of the United Nations and an attack on the international system. Condemning that illegal attack and its gross violation of international law, he said his country does not recognize the “so-called Donetsk People’s republic or the so-called Luhansk People’s republic”. Expressing grave concern about the devastating impact of the war on Ukrainian lives, he underscored that the impact will be felt especially hard by women, the elderly and children. All States must respect and adhere to the principles of the Charter and the norms of international law, he said, calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of all Russian Federation troops and military hardware from Ukraine. He urged all sides to exercise restraint, comply with international humanitarian law and to resort to diplomacy to find a peaceful solution to the armed conflict, affirming his country’s solidarity with Ukraine and its people.
MATHU JOYINI (South Africa) welcomed the commencement of talks between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, expressing hope that those discussions will lead to a diplomatic solution that will result in a sustainable political solution. She said the events of the last two weeks have again reminded Member States of the urgent need to reform the United Nations, especially the Security Council, which is long overdue. “We need a Council free from the legacy of the cold war so that it can genuinely be the space where the community of nations comes together to resolve conflict and build a more just and peaceful world,” she said. She urged the Council to utilize existing tools at its disposal in support of the peaceful settlement of disputes. Noting with concern that not all situations of conflict have received the same attention, she stressed that long-standing situations that the Security Council is seized with continue without resolution. “It is necessary that we devote equal attention to other long-standing conflicts where the United Nations Charter and human rights are being violated,” she said. Associating herself with the African Union Commission, she expressed concern about the treatment given to African nationals and people of African descent at the borders of Ukraine, some of whom are not allowed to cross and move to safety, urging European countries to take steps to resolve this situation as all people have a right to cross international borders during times of conflict.
MICHEL XAVIER BIANG (Gabon) said that Member States must send a clear message to the peoples of world that the United Nations stands against war, unambiguously condemning the aggression against Ukraine and all wars of choice, for hegemony or resources. Expressing alarm at the severity of the situation, with blood flowing and people seeking refuge, he said that until the spectre of confrontation recedes, “we have the duty to offer an alternative to fear.” There is always time to choose diplomacy over force, he noted, calling for an immediate ceasefire and for warring factions to refrain from using any weapons with indiscriminate effect that threaten civilians. Echoing the alarm over African students in Ukraine facing discrimination in seeking shelter, he stressed: “We say no to racism and demand respect for human dignity.”
PEDRO LUIS PEDROSO CUESTA (Cuba) said his Government defends international law and will unambiguously support Latin America and the Caribbean as a zone of peace, as declared in 2014. He noted it is impossible to rigorously and honestly analyze the situation in Ukraine without considering factors that led to the use of force. The United States’ determination to extend the reach of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to Russian Federation borders has led to an unpredictable scenario which could have been avoided. Those movements in recent months, including the delivery of weapons into Ukraine, are the equivalent of a military pincer move, he said — and it was a mistake to ignore the Russian Federation’s demands for security guarantees, as it is impossible to achieve peace by surrounding and closing in on States. He similarly expressed concern over the first-time activation of the NATO response force. He recalled that in 1999, the United States and NATO launched an aggression against the former Yugoslavia, a European country they broke up at high human cost for geopolitical purposes. Washington and its allies have invaded sovereign States to trigger regime change and are responsible for hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, described as “collateral damage” in wars of pillage and plunder. Turning to the draft resolution under consideration, he warned that the preceding document in the Council was not designed as a real search for solutions to the crisis, and the text submitted to the General Assembly suffers from the same deficiencies and lack of bounds, with no acknowledgement of the responsibility of those who took aggressive actions.
FATUMANAVA-O-UPOLU III PA’OLELEI LUTERU (Samoa), aligning himself with the Pacific Island Forum, said that as a small island developing State, his country believes there are only a few global mechanisms to safeguard its security. Among them is a tool to ensure the maintenance of global peace and the respect for the rules-based international order. The main focus must be on the Charter’s preamble — saving generations from the scourge of war. Urging all actors to focus efforts on immediately ending hostilities, protect civilian and cease all military operations, he welcomed the current call by both Ukraine and the Russian Federation for peace talks. Echoing calls on the Russian Federation to respect Charter principles, abide by international law and fully honour the Minsk agreements, he said: “Let us all give peace a chance” and support the draft resolution.
ENRIQUE AUSTRIA MANALO (Philippines) said his country will vote in favour of the resolution and condemns the invasion of Ukraine. He appealed for the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructures, urging the cessation of hostilities. Noting the growing humanitarian crisis, he stressed that safe access to humanitarian assistance must be assured by the most effective means. All States enjoy the right to full sovereignty in all their areas of jurisdiction, he said, condemning the use of separatism and secession as a weapon of diplomacy that invites and inflicts cruelties and indiscriminate killings. He strongly urged resorting to the 1982 Manila Declaration on the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes, noting that it would at least halt the ongoing tragedy for the time being.
JÚLIO CÉSAR FREIRE DE MORAIS (Cabo Verde), warning that urban guerrilla warfare seems imminent amid the ongoing violence, said this is a pivotal moment for the United Nations and humanity. Commending efforts to address urgent humanitarian needs, he welcomed neighbouring countries’ offers to help. Cabo Verde unequivocally condemns the recourse to threat or the use of force in the relations between States and pledges for the respect of the values and international law, enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. In this regard, it reiterates the need to respect the sovereign equality, territorial integrity and inviolability of States. Being a small island developing State, Cabo Verde attaches paramount importance to the strict observance of the Charter´s principles and content. He declared: “Let us not fail tackling this serious challenge to multilateralism and prompt a response aiming to stop and revert the situation honouring the universality of the United Nations Charter.” No effort should be spared to establish an immediate ceasefire and seek a diplomatic way out through dialogue and negotiations for conflict resolution, under the provisions of the Minsk agreements, and in line with Security Council resolution 2202 (2015), he said, adding that ongoing direct talks in Belarus, although late, move in the right direction.
ZSUZSANNA HORVÁTH (Hungary), aligning herself with the European Union, said that what is happening in Ukraine affects the security of every Member State, and strategic calmness is needed to avoid actions that can further escalate an already dire situation. War in neighbouring Ukraine is a great security risk for Hungary, which remains interested in achieving a peaceful conclusion to this conflict. The region has suffered because of conflict between powerful nations, she said, recalling the experience of the cold war. Welcoming news of direct talks, she expressed strong support for European Union and NATO unity and supported their joint responses as well as Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission efforts. Hungary remains ready to receive refugees, its embassies are open and border crossings are operating in full capacity. Responding to requests from many nations in evacuating their citizens, Hungary has allowed entrance for all those fleeing war without restrictions or discrimination as to race, ethnicity, religion or country of origin, she said, adding that all cases of discrimination will be investigated and perpetrators held accountable. Calling for the immediate cessation of hostilities, she reiterated Hungary’s offer to host peace talks. Deeply worried by war in its neighbour’s country, and the consequences in the region, she reiterated support for a diplomatic solution. Hungary will vote in favour of the draft resolution, which is not about taking sides, but about upholding Charter principles.
VANESSA FRAZIER (Malta), associating herself with the European Union, reiterated her country’s unwavering support for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders. Strongly condemning the unprovoked war launched by the Russian Federation — which is both illegal and unacceptable — she recalled that Malta joined a group of over 80 countries to co-sponsor the draft resolution tabled in the Security Council, which would have condemned the Russian Federation for its aggression and called for an end to the offensive. Describing Moscow’s veto of that draft as “disturbing”, she stressed the need to protect civilians and fully respect international law, while calling for the facilitation of rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian assistance to those in need. “It’s never too late for diplomacy,” she said, expressing hope that the Assembly will send a unanimous signal to the world defending the critical principles of sovereignty and independence of all Member States.
SYED MOHAMAD HASRIN AIDID (Malaysia), expressing regret about the Security Council’s inability to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, recognized the legitimate security concerns of all parties. Nevertheless, all the parties must abide strictly by the principles of State sovereignty and territorial integrity. “In conflict situations, no solution can be found at the end of the barrel of a gun,” he said, calling instead for restraint and concrete steps to de-escalate the situation in favour of dialogue. He also voiced grave concern about reports that nuclear arsenals are being put on “high alert status” and recalled that Malaysia was the victim of the conflict in Ukraine when its flight MH17 was downed eight years ago, killing 298 innocent people. Against that backdrop, his delegation will vote in favour of the draft resolution before the Assembly.
MANSOUR AYYAD SH. A. ALOTAIBI (Kuwait), pointing out that the General Assembly meets today to discuss the Security Council’s “inability to discharge its duty to maintain peace and security in Europe and the world”, stressed that the multilateral system is in a delicate state. This situation represents a real test for the United Nations to defend the values and principles on which it was founded, and he welcomed negotiations held on 28 February between the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Belarus as a “glimmer of hope”. Given Kuwait’s painful experience of occupation in 1991, he underscored the need for States to abide by international law and the Charter of the United Nations, which represents a “safe haven for small States” and embodies the concept of collective security. Rejecting the threat or use of force in relations among States and expressing concern over the deteriorating situation in Ukraine, he urged all parties to respect their commitments under international law and Council resolutions that call for the defence of civilian populations and infrastructure.
AGNES MARY CHIMBIRI MOLANDE (Malawi) reiterated his country’s commitment to global peace and security, recalling that as a peace-loving nation Malawi condemns any escalation that threatens that common cause. “The progress that has been realized in building the global peace and security architecture should be jealously guarded by all of us,” she stressed, also underlining the sanctity of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all Member States. At a time when the world is already grappling with several existential crises — ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic to climate change — restraint is all the more necessary. She called on the Russian Federation to immediately cease its fire and withdraw its forces from Ukraine in order to create conditions needed for continued diplomatic engagement and lasting peace, while noting that the crisis demands a show of leadership from the Security Council and all United Nations Member States in the true spirit of multilateralism.
AMATLAIN ELIZABETH KABUA (Marshall Islands), associating herself with the Pacific Islands Forum, said the complete military invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation is little more than a ruse to satisfy an imperialist agenda. “Free will and the rule of law are being overruled by the barrel of a gun,” she stated. Every democratic country in the world should be concerned “because an unlawful invasion of one of us is truly an unlawful invasion of all of us”. Calling the unprovoked invasion a “tyranny”, she warned that if the United Nations cannot take action, it risks its very relevance like the long-ago League of Nations. “Our population is small — but our voice can be very loud,” she affirmed, calling for the international community to speak out against flagrant wrongs “because if we fail to do so now, who will speak up for us or our neighbours in any future threats?” Expressing concern over the adequacy of multilateral response towards Ukraine, she stressed “a veto will not stop global consensus”, counselling that country to remain strong.
NOA FURMAN (Israel) said that her country — having experienced many wars — knows first-hand that war is not the way to resolve conflict. The Russian attack on Ukraine is a serious violation of the international order. As such, she condemned the same and called on the Russian Federation to “heed the calls of the international community”, stop its attack and respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Given Israel’s deep ties with both countries, it stands ready to contribute to diplomatic efforts if so requested. Expressing concern over the growing humanitarian crisis, she said that her country will be providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine in the form of medical supplies, water purification systems, emergency-water-supply kits and winter gear. She went on to recall the words of the prophet Isaiah: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war anymore”.
ELISENDA VIVES BALMAÑA (Andorra), aligning herself with the European Union, said that respect for international law must be at the heart of all States, big or small, in line with the founding Charter. Defending these and other principles, Andorra had co-sponsored the draft resolution to end violence in Ukraine, which was vetoed on 25 February in the Security Council. Indeed, the Council has failed its duty, so the General Assembly must now uphold its responsibility to ensure peace and security. As such, she urged all States to vote in favour of the Assembly’s draft resolution, which Andorra co-sponsored. There is no alternative to diplomacy, she stated, expressing serious concern over the current situation and calling on all parties to refrain from actions that violate the Charter. Parties must use every available tool to resolve the conflict, she said, adding that: “It is our responsibility to reduce tensions and address the suffering of the population.” Commending efforts to help the population, she said Andorra will contribute to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
KACOU HOUADJA LÉON ADOM (Côte d’Ivoire) said his delegation will vote in favour of the draft resolution, given that, amid the pandemic, this unacceptable crisis has been imposed on Ukraine. In doing so, Côte d’Ivoire will indicate its commitment to the independence of States and the peaceful settlement of disputes. Indeed, might does not make right, he said. Many efforts — including within the United Nations — have not helped to spare the world from another high-intensity conflict, he said, expressing serious concern about the ongoing conflict. Calling on parties to observe a ceasefire and give dialogue a chance, he said everything must be done to bring an end to this war. Calling on parties to respect humanitarian law, he appealed to the international community to mobilize needed resources to serve the needs of populations in distress. Raising concerns about reports that Côte d’Ivoire’s citizens are facing racist-tinged treatment and bullying, he asked that, if this is accurate, those countries involved show tolerance and respect.
GHEORGHE LEUCĂ (Republic of Moldova), associating himself with the European Union, expressed his condemnation of the act of war launched by the Russian Federation against Ukraine. In six days, it has triggered a major humanitarian crisis in the region that has also affected neighbouring countries, including his own. Since the start of hostilities, about 95,000 refugees fleeing from Ukraine have entered the Republic of Moldova, he said, noting that the majority are women, children and the elderly. “To put this figure into perspective, given the difference in the size of the populations, such a flow would equal to about 2 million refuges entering a country with the population size of Germany in just five days,” he said. More than half of those decided to remain, he said, noting that his country is doing its best to cope with this situation but needs the support of its partners. In the coming days, the Republic of Moldova will be visited by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, who will discuss ways to effectively respond to the humanitarian crisis. “Moldova will continue keeping our borders open for those who seek refuge,” he said.
AMRIT BAHADUR RAI (Nepal) called on all parties in Ukraine to exercise maximum restraint and de-escalate tension immediately. Voicing concern about the safety of Nepali nationals currently in the country and requesting all those concerned to facilitate their safe passage, he warned that violence only breeds more violence. “Make no mistake, there is no alternative to the path of peace,” he stressed, urging the parties to walk the path of diplomacy and dialogue and to find a political solution as soon as possible. Spotlighting the Charter principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, he voiced Nepal’s opposition to any threat or use of force against a State “under any pretext and circumstances”.
KEISHA ANIYA MCGUIRE (Grenada), associating herself with the Caribbean Community’s statement on 24 February and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States’ statement on 26 February, condemned the Russian Federation’s assault on the people of Ukraine, as well as its assault on the principles of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States, and on the provisions of international peace and stability, as enshrined in the Charter. The rule of law is not merely a priority, but also existential for many small States who are without a military, such as Grenada, serving as the sole shield to outside interference and/or attack. She called for an immediate end to the hostilities, reiterating the Caribbean Community’s call for “intensified diplomatic dialogue to immediately de-escalate hostilities and work towards sustainable peace”. Commending the neighbouring countries who are providing refuge to the victims of those hostilities, she called for strict adherence to international humanitarian law, including the unfettered passage for all those fleeing conflicts. Expressing concern about reports of disparate treatment of African nationals on the border of Ukraine who are encountering impediments as they desperately seek safety, she called on all States to adhere to their international obligations.
SVEN ALKALAJ (Bosnia and Herzegovina), associating himself with the European Union, recalled the aggression suffered by his country where genocide was committed three decades ago, noting that the developing situation in Ukraine “resonates awfully close to home”. He called on both sides of the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and to guarantee unhindered and sustained access for humanitarian actors to all people in need. Bosnia and Herzegovina remains committed to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, he said, underscoring that the permanent members of the Security Council have a particular responsibility to uphold the Charter. He called on all international organizations, especially the international courts and tribunals, to closely monitor the developments on the ground and to assess any violations of international law, including international humanitarian law. The Security Council, which has the obligation and the general powers to maintain international peace and security, has, unfortunately, in this case failed so far. Nonetheless, negotiating peace must continue to be the objective above any military solution to the crisis. He affirmed Bosnia and Herzegovina’s vote in favour of the resolution, inviting all other Member States to do so.
CHO HYUN (Republic of Korea) said the Assembly had gathered “in one of the darkest times in recent history”. This war was a choice made by the Russian Federation, which would not have taken place if it had listened to the calls of the international community. He urged that country to stop its offensive against Ukraine, immediately withdraw its military forces and for it to immediately reverse its decision on the status of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Expressing grave concern over the humanitarian situation, he said his Government will further increase its assistance to Ukraine. He noted the Republic of Korea was the first country that the United Nations assisted in response to an act of aggression, under the “Uniting for Peace” resolution — which forms the basis of today’s emergency special session. “My country still exists today because the peoples of the United Nations at the time stood up immediately to the cries of the innocent lives,” he stated. “This is why my delegation does not see the situation in Ukraine as some distant tragedy.” In that vein, the Republic of Korea still tries to maintain hope in the Organization’s system and the commitment of its Member States to uphold the principles of the Charter, resolutely standing united against this act of aggression.
DENNIS FRANCIS (Trinidad and Tobago) said United Nations membership is a solemn undertaking to promote, support and devote one’s efforts to maintain and strengthen the rules-based order, as the foundation of international peace and security. That undertaking cannot legitimately be flouted or discarded at will, as if it were a matter of convenience. He said: “It is an obligation that as Member States we all share a duty to respect and to honour unconditionally.” The violation of Ukraine’s territory is a real threat to international peace and security, and creates a dangerous precedent, inimical to the vital security interests of small States like Trinidad and Tobago, which will never accept as legitimate or excusable such egregious violations of the Charter and international law. It is upon such laws and principles that his country and other small States, bereft of military arsenals, rely to guarantee their very existence as sovereign independent nations, he said, adding that: “For us, our suit of armour resides in the principles enshrined in the Charter and in the universal and unconditional acceptance of the basic tenets of international law by all members of the international community.” Condemning the ongoing violence, he called on the Russian Federation to recall its troops and return genuinely to the path of dialogue and diplomacy. Ongoing talks offer hope for de-escalation and warrant attention and support. Deeply concerned about the International Criminal Court’s announcement to launch an investigation into the alleged commission of war crimes, he called on both parties to respect and uphold their obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law.
SAMUEL MONCADA (Venezuela) noted his delegation had voted in favour of resolution 2202 (2015). Sadly, the Minsk agreements were wasted after seven years of violations within Ukraine, which widened the international divide — also heightened by the growing outside pressure of a steadily expanding NATO, with destructive effects on security architecture, especially for the Russian Federation. What arose as a violent national divide has escalated into a regional military crisis and is heading dangerously to the third level: an escalation between four nuclear Powers, with an economic blockade on one, which could lead to an international crisis. Security must prevail for all parties involved, to correct the current path and “avoid the point of no return”. He affirmed the United Nations as the only institution in the world with the capacity, experience and instruments required to reach peaceful settlement of disputes at this level. Rejecting the implementation of unilateral and retaliatory measures which will heighten tensions and prolong the conflict, he condemned a deliberately generated crisis intended to destabilize a nuclear Power. “This is not the path to peace,” he stressed, as the security of one country cannot jeopardize another. As NATO cannot continue to expand and destabilize the planet, he called for direct talks on equal footing between the Russian Federation and that organization. He appealed for an end to war propaganda to “avoid a chain reaction which will lead us walking mindlessly into the abyss”.
HOANG GIANG DANG (Viet Nam), recalling his nation’s history of enduring war, stressed that conflicts today stem from “obsolete doctrines of power politics, the ambition of domination and the use of force in settling international disputes”. Viet Nam understands first-hand that, once war breaks out, it only causes endless suffering. Against that backdrop, he underscored the importance of respect for international law and the Charter of the United Nations and stressed that all international disputes must be resolved by peaceful means. All States — large and small — must adhere to the fundamental principles of sovereign equality, respect for the political independence and territorial integrity of States, non-interference in the internal affairs of States and refrainment from the threat or use of force. Expressing concern over the ongoing armed conflict in Ukraine — a sovereign Member State — he called on all concerned parties to de-escalate tensions and resume dialogue through all channels to reach a solution that accounts for the concerns of all parties.
MARÍA DEL CARMEN SQUEFF (Argentina), noting that today’s meeting is to defend the founding principles of the United Nations, underscored that “the situation in Ukraine cannot be cast aside”. She condemned the invasion of Ukraine and called on the Russian Federation to immediately cease its illegitimate use of force and military operations in Ukrainian territory. Recalling the Secretary-General’s message of concern relating to the Russian Federation’s decision to put its nuclear forces on alert, she spotlighted the clear principles governing weapons of mass destruction. While Argentina defends the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the international community must work towards “complete destruction of a weapon that threatens the planet with total annihilation”. She went on to stress that no acquisition of land can be recognized as legal when done through the threat or use of force — this is a logical consequence of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. Adding that international law contains general principles recognized by the international community, she said that States “do not have the luxury of choosing when they are applicable or not”.
ANTJE LEENDERTSE, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, recalling the birth of a girl named Mia days ago amid rocket attacks and fear, said the Russian Federation’s actions are the reason for the current situation. The vote for the Assembly’s draft resolution is about Mia. Noting that she herself grew up amid peace and security in Europe, she recalled that it was Nazi Germany that launched the brutal Second World War, leading to the founding of the United Nations, whose goal was that she and future generations could live in peace. The Russian Federation has brutally attacked this order. The war is about Ukraine and “it is about all of us” that marks the dawn of a new era. Today, there is a new reality that President Putin has forced upon the world. This war of aggression is based on lies, repeated today by the Russian Federation’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the Human Rights Council, she said, responding to his claims of self-defence by stating that: “The whole world is watching as you are bombing the homes of Russian-speaking Ukrainians […] and your tanks are not carrying water, but death and destruction; you are using your power as a permanent member of the Security Council; you can deceive yourself, but you will not deceive us or your own people.”
She said the Russian Federation’s war marks a new reality, requiring all States to make firm decisions and take a side. Germany is stepping up support, providing food, aid and shelter for refugees. Pointing to rumours that those fleeing from Ukraine who are of African descent are being discriminated against at the European Union borders, she recalled a recent visit to Poland, where she had made it clear that every refugee must receive protection no matter their nationality, origin or skin colour. Germany has also decided to support Ukraine militarily to protect itself, in line with Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations. Germany is deeply aware of its historic responsibly and will always be committed to diplomacy and seeking out peaceful solutions. But, when peaceful approaches come under attack, “we must act responsibly and unite for peace”, she said, adding that: “Now, we all have to choose between peace and aggression, between justice and the will of the strongest, between taking action and turning a blind eye,” she said, encouraging all States to vote in favour of the draft resolution. When Member States cast their votes, she said each will have to go home and look their loved ones in the eye and tell them what choice they made.
SURIYA CHINDAWONGSE (Thailand), condemning the ongoing conflict, said his delegation will do its utmost to help Ukrainian citizens. Thailand remains committed to the principles of international law, including refraining from the use of force against another State. Calling for a cessation of hostilities, he said continued violence will have widespread consequences across the world. Renewing a call for dialogue, he said a sustainable solution must be found through the United Nations and existing mechanisms. Welcoming peace talks, he said Thailand believes the path of peace, reconciliation and good neighbourliness will ultimately prevail.
ABDOU ABARRY (Niger) said that when the United Nations was created in 1945 in San Francisco following the horrors of the Second World War, it was primary to save future generations from the scourge of war. The situation in Ukraine jeopardizes the San Francisco consensus and is a test of the viability of the system. The use of force by the Russian Federation is an act that Niger condemns, he said, noting that his country will vote in favour of the resolution. The Security Council has not been able to act because of the use of the veto by one of its members. Faced with this aggression against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, the international community should do everything it can to save peace at any cost. Peace in this region must go beyond the non-aggression pact — of which the limits can now be seen — and must become a genuine pact of all States. He welcomed the commencement of a dialogue between the parties, he said, stressing that they should do everything to spare civilians from undue suffering. The good offices of the Secretary-General would be an inestimable contribution to this process, he said.
JAIME HERMIDA CASTILLO (Nicaragua) reiterated his commitment to sovereignty and territorial integrity for all countries. Member States must comply with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, he said, noting that this applies to all States equally. His Government believes that negotiations between the two parties are key, in order to ramp up diplomatic efforts and guarantee peace and security. NATO has insisted on disregarding the agreements adopted by the Russian Federation following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, he said. He rejects the use of unilateral measures such as political or economic sanctions, including those being launched against the Russian Federation by the United States and NATO when they are sending weapons to Ukraine. All this escalation does is fuel war and leave in its wake death, causalities and migration of families. It is not through policies of double standards that a world of peace will be built, but through diplomatic efforts and solutions.
ION JINGA (Romania), associating himself with the European Union, said the entire world is being threatened by the Russian Federation’s actions in Ukraine, as well as its decision to put its nuclear arsenal on high alert. Romania stands with the Ukrainian people, including by hosting those who are fleeing across borders, and strongly condemns Moscow’s irresponsible behaviour in violating its commitments under the Charter. Moscow must cease its use of force and withdraw immediately and unconditionally all its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders. Romania also supports the ambitious package of extended sanctions imposed by many States on Moscow, including the closure of European Union airspace to Russian Federation aircrafts and contributions of assistance aimed to bolster Ukraine’s military capacity, he said.
DRAGANA ŠĆEPANOVIĆ (Montenegro), associating herself with the European Union, said the Assembly is meeting in response to the Russian Federation’s flagrant violation of the Charter, of international law, and of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. That unjustified and unprovoked military aggression puts millions of lives at risk and represents a clear and present threat to peace and security, both in Europe and beyond. Condemning those acts and calling for their immediate end, she also demanded an end to dangerous rhetoric, which can only lead to further escalation and increases the risk of catastrophic miscalculation. Regrettably, the Security Council failed its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security due to the veto cast last week by one permanent member. Reiterating that the only solution to the crisis is through diplomatic means, she went on to call on all international actors to pay special attention to preserving stability and security in the Western Balkans, a region which cherishes European and Euro-Atlantic values and principles.
DAMIANO BELEFFI (San Marino), associating himself with the European Union, called upon the parties to immediately stop the war in Ukraine, which is jeopardizing international peace and security on a global scale. Reiterating his country’s support for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, he also called for a return to dialogue leading to a negotiated solution. Noting that San Marino historically only adopts and implements sanctions endorsed by the Security Council, he said that on 28 February the Government initiated a legislative procedure to allow the adoption of additional sanctions, given the gravity of the situation in Ukraine. He also spotlighted the urgent need for humanitarian assistance, deploring and condemning acts of aggression against civilian infrastructure and demanding that the parties strictly uphold international humanitarian and human rights law. Against that backdrop, San Marino has co-sponsored and will vote in favour of the draft resolution before the Assembly, in solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
ANDREAS HADJICHRYSANTHOU (Cyprus), associating himself with the European Union, condemned the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine, stating the use of force is “the repudiation of the principles that every country in this Hall has committed to uphold”. As a small State, which relies on the global rules-based order for its security, Cyprus is concerned about the effectiveness of that collective system. He deplored the human suffering, loss of life, and massive displacement caused by the hostilities — “a consequence of war that Cyprus is only too familiar with for nearly 50 years now”. Calling for an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of Russian military forces, he further expressed deep concern over the current level of nuclear threat: “There are no victors with nuclear weapons — only victims.” Noting Cyprus itself is a victim of foreign invasion and ongoing occupation, and the situation in Ukraine constitutes a flagrant violation of international law, he continued: “There is only one way out: diplomacy, not war.”
FRANCISCO DUARTE LOPES (Portugal), associating himself with the European Union, strongly condemned the unprovoked aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine, which must immediately withdraw its military forces. He expressed regret over the loss of lives and mounting human suffering, with more and more internally displaced persons and refugees in need of assistance. Hailing the generosity and solidarity shown by Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and the Republic of Moldova in hosting and assisting those fleeing from the scourge of war, he reiterated Portugal’s readiness to welcome Ukrainians who wish to continue their lives in his country. The draft resolution is a timely and necessary step, he said, justified by the increasingly dire situation faced by Ukraine, encouraging Member States to vote in favour. Urging the Russian Federation to abandon its military offensive and participate constructively in negotiations with Ukraine, he quoted the Secretary-General: “It is never too late to engage in good-faith negotiations and to address all issues peacefully”.
KIM SONG (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said that the root cause of the Ukraine crisis lies in the hegemonic policy of the United States and the West, which “indulge themselves in high-handedness and arbitrariness towards other countries”. Those States have systematically undermined the European security environment by defying the Russian Federation’s reasonable demand for legal security guarantees and pursuing NATO’s eastward expansion. Recalling the violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya by the United States and the West under the pretext of international peace and security, he said that it is “absurd” for such countries to mention respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity in the context of the Ukrainian situation. It is characteristic of the current international order that “seeds of discord are sown” in every region where the United States intervenes, and he added that reality proves clearly, once again, that peace will never settle in the world so long as the United States continues its “unilateral and double-dealing policy”.
NGOSA SIMBYAKULA (Zambia), expressing concern over the deteriorating situation in Ukraine, called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and for the two parties concerned to seek a peaceful solution to the current conflict. “The military aggression by the Russian Federation in Ukraine is regrettable and should be discontinued,” he added. Welcoming the recent meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations as a “step in the right direction”, he underscored that all international actors are obliged to respect international law and uphold the Charter of the United Nations. He went on to call on the Russian Federation and Ukraine to agree to an immediate ceasefire in line with the same, while stressing the need for both parties to prevent any further displacement or loss of human life or property within Ukraine. For its part, Zambia will support the draft resolution, he noted.
MD MONWAR HOSSAIN (Bangladesh), echoing expressions of support for the Charter principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, also called for restraint on the part of all actors. Voicing full support and confidence in the Secretary-General’s good offices, he called on him to urgently engage the parties in dialogue, while underlining the need to facilitate safe and unimpeded humanitarian access and to allow safe passage for all those seeking to leave Ukraine.
DUSHKO UZUNOVSKI (North Macedonia), associating himself with the European Union and reaffirming his country’s support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, noted that his nation co-sponsored the draft resolution currently before the Assembly. “We fully support the text and every word in it,” he said, calling upon all peace-loving nations to vote in favour. Describing the unprovoked aggression against Ukraine as a blatant violation of international law and the principles enshrined in the Charter, he strongly condemned Moscow’s decision to “opt for the path of war”, which is causing loss of life and devastating infrastructure damage. Voicing grave concern about the Russian Federation’s announcement that it is ready to raise the nuclear alert level and about attacks on such facilities as kindergartens, schools and hospitals, he urged States to vote in favour of the Assembly’s draft resolution, declaring: “Today, the free world is renouncing the acts of aggression and we should stand united against this wrongdoing.”
ODO TEVI (Vanuatu), associating himself with the Pacific Island Forum, said the Security Council’s failure to adopt the Ukraine-Russian Federation resolution reveals that organ’s shortcomings. With its universal membership — which includes small States such as Vanuatu — the Assembly can provide perspective on the situation and express countries’ solidarity with the people and Government of Ukraine. “As a small State, Vanuatu does not have a military might nor nuclear weapons,” he said, but the country believes in the international rule of law and the right to self-determination. Calling for safe humanitarian access to all affected areas, he added that the rights to food, water, shelter and medicine must also be guaranteed and the rights of minorities — including people of African descent — must be protected.
ANTONIO RODRIGUE (Haiti) said that one of the primary purposes of the United Nations is the maintenance of international peace and security. This noble goal is of particular importance not just today, but for future generations. The painful situation unfolding in Ukraine is extremely worrisome and is a very serious threat to global peace, security and stability. The global community must work together, particularly after the decision by Moscow to set its nuclear weapons on high alert. In a statement on 23 February 2022, the Government of Haiti urged the parties concerned to exercise constraint. He appealed for further diplomatic efforts towards a peaceful solution and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. The war has already cost lives and caused considerable damage in Ukraine, he said, noting that Haiti will vote in favour of the resolution.
VILIAMI VA'INGA TŌNĒ (Tonga), associating himself with the Pacific Islands Forum and voicing solidarity with Ukraine, expressed support for the draft resolution before the Assembly. As a small island country attempting to recover from a recent natural disaster — namely, the unprecedented volcanic eruption and tsunami that occurred on 15 January — Tonga knows what it is like to face circumstances beyond national control, as is also the case in Ukraine today. He called on that country’s partners to continue to support its people and on Member States to uphold the principles of the United Nations Charter. For those reasons, Tonga has co-sponsored the draft resolution currently before the Assembly and will vote in favour of that text, in support of Ukraine and against the Russian Federation’s aggression.
VICTORIA LIETA LIOLOCHA (Democratic Republic of the Congo) said respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all countries by all Member States is a fundamental element for peace and international security. “This is a golden rule — an intangible rule that all members of the United Nations must respect at all times and in all places,” she said. Due to its own experience, her country can in no way sanction the violation of the territorial sovereignty and integrity of any Member State and of Ukraine in particular. Commending all efforts aimed at encouraging dialogue and opening a path to diplomatic negotiations, she said the path of de-escalation and choice of diplomacy remains an important option that should be explored. As the repercussions of the situation could destabilize the fragile balance in eastern Europe and beyond, the international community must look at the humanitarian and economic consequences that could follow. She welcomed the international solidarity that has allowed Ukraine’s neighbouring countries to open their borders, welcome displaced persons and provide necessary assistance. “We want this expression of empathy to displaced persons without discrimination,” she said. Her country joins the voices of the international community represented in the room in calling for peace and asking the two parties to return to the negotiating table.
NNAMDI OKECHUKWU NZE (Nigeria) said the violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, or of any other nation, including any illegal occupation and annexation, is unacceptable. Noting the implications of the invasion on the people of Ukraine, he stressed the importance of direct talks between the parties involved, as well as the responsibility of all parties to protect the civilian population. He urged the Russian Federation to halt all military action and “revert to status quo”. Moreover, he appealed for negotiations to be held in good faith, with the United Nations playing a prominent role. Countries with influence on the parties should redouble their diplomatic and related efforts to bring the conflict to a mutually satisfying end for both parties. All actions that threaten sovereignty and territorial integrity, as recognized in international law, must be stopped.
JOYKER NAYECK, (Mauritius) noted that his small island State is among the very few countries in the world which does not possess an army, and therefore expressed deep concern over the unfolding situation in Ukraine. Deploring the loss of lives, damage to civilian infrastructure and the increasing number of internally displaced persons impacting the region, he affirmed that the threat or use of force against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or independence of any State is inconsistent with the Charter and principles of the United Nations — which came into being with the sacrosanct mission of maintaining international peace and security and must collectively strive to keep this century free from the cycle of violence. “No matter what part of the world we are from, we are all basically the same human being,” trying to seek peace and avoid suffering, he said. Describing “a defining moment for our Organization”, he called for de-escalation, dialogue and negotiations. “Let us stand united in our resolve for lasting peace,” he said.
TAREK LADEB (Tunisia) expressed regret over the implications of the current situation for Europe and the world. Voicing hope that the international community will find a solution to the crisis, he called on all parties to reach a ceasefire and stop the escalation. More efforts must be deployed towards dialogue and constructively working towards long-lasting settlement. Noting the Minsk agreements, adopted under Security Council resolution 2202 (2015), remain one option to overcome the problem, he called for them to be activated. Recalling that the United Nations was established in 1945 to save future generations from the scourge of war, he reaffirmed support for the principles of Charter, which are essential to maintaining peace and security in the world.
ALYA AHMED SAIF AL-THANI (Qatar), noting that the draft resolution on which this meeting is based refers to the twin objectives of maintaining international peace and security and developing friendly relations among States, underscored that all efforts must be deployed to realize the same. She urged all parties to exercise restraint and pursue peaceful, diplomatic means to resolve the conflict. Qatari foreign policy is based on the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations; namely, refraining from the threat or use of force against the political independence and territorial integrity of States. As such, she emphasized the territorial integrity and unity of Ukraine within its recognized borders. The present crisis must be settled by pursuing negotiation within the ambit of international law and the Charter to satisfy the concerns of all parties. She went on to call on all parties to fulfil their obligations under international humanitarian law and secure the safe, unhindered deployment of humanitarian assistance.