Later this month, we will mark two years since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, launched in blatant violation of the UN Charter and international law.
As a result of the war that followed, thousands of civilians have been killed and injured. Millions have been displaced, and for those who have stayed, the damage and destruction of critical infrastructure and the continuous threat of attacks impact all aspects of their daily lives.
The approaching anniversary of the invasion is not only an occasion to recount the horrors of the past two years, but also a reminder that the armed conflict in Ukraine did not begin on 24 February 2022, but has been ongoing in the country’s east since 2014.
The United Nations has been, and will remain, fully committed to the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Today’s meeting is also a reminder that, over the years, there were numerous efforts to settle the situation by diplomatic means. Unfortunately, these efforts did not result in a lasting solution, nor stop the Russian Federation from launching a full-scale armed attack on its neighbor.
The United Nations was not formally part of any mechanism related to the peace process in Ukraine, such as the Normandy Format. The United Nations was not invited to be a participant in the various negotiations in Minsk, nor to the 2014 and 2015 agreements. Neither was the United Nations involved in the implementation efforts led by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in the Trilateral Contact Group.
We therefore refer to those directly involved to reflect on the details of these processes and the implementation of the related agreements.
Over the years, the United Nations had expressed full support to all involved in their diplomatic efforts and to the full implementation of the Minsk agreements and related measures, in accordance with Security Council resolution 2202 and the Presidential Statement of 6 June 2018.
The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, despite the often-difficult conditions, played a crucial role in providing information about ceasefire violations to maintain dialogue, reduce tensions and prevent escalation, in line with its mandate. The hard work and dedication of the more than one thousand monitors and the Mission’s leadership deserve to be recognized and commended.
We are grateful to the OSCE for the good and constructive cooperation over the years.
In line with Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, the United Nations provided its expertise, when requested and as appropriate, to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission on specific matters, including women, peace and security, and ceasefire monitoring. When requested, we also supported some of the Working Groups under the OSCE-led Trilateral Contact Group.
In order to provide assistance to those affected by the conflict, our colleagues on the ground consistently coordinated with the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission on security, humanitarian and human rights access-related issues.
As the security challenges and tensions in the OSCE region persist, we express our commitment to continued partnership, in line with Chapter VIII of the Charter.
Last week in this Council, Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo once again raised alarm about the increasing civilian casualties and the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Ukraine. She also regretted the lack of prospects for peace.
Indeed, we remain concerned about the escalatory trajectory of this war with intensifying attacks on civilians, and acts that could further diminish the prospects for a just and lasting solution.
What we know is that peace agreements alone will not end violence. Peace processes must address the root causes of the conflict, and come with full and equal participation of women and youth, and inclusion of civil society voices.
What we need for Ukraine, for the region and the world, is a just, lasting and comprehensive peace, in line with the UN Charter, international law, and the resolutions of the General Assembly.
In this regard, I would like to reiterate the calls by the UN General Assembly to support de-escalation and encourage diplomatic efforts to this end.
The United Nations continues to stand ready to support.