Ambassador Stavros Lambrinidis @EUAmbUN - Photo: 2024

Russia Must Withdraw Unconditionally from Ukraine

By Stavros Lambrinidis

The author is Head of the European Union‘s Delegation to the United Nations, at the UN Security Council. Following are extensive excerpts from his Statement to the UN Security Council on 8 March 2024.

NEW YORK | 10 March 2024 (IDN) — When the UN Secretary-General visited Kyiv in 2022, Russian missiles hit the city. When a delegation of African leaders travelled to Ukraine on a peace mission last year, Russia again struck. And on 6 March, when the Greek Prime Minister joined Ukrainian President Zelenskyy in Odesa to pay tribute to the victims of a Russian drone strike, of which many were children, Russia once again carried out air attacks, which struck perilously close to the two leaders. For over two years now, the Ukrainian people have endured such attacks on a daily basis.

The EU reiterates its resolute condemnation of Russia’s illegal, unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression, which constitutes a manifest violation of international law, including the UN Charter, and the resolutions of the General Assembly.

Russia’s systematic air strikes against civilian objects and critical infrastructure in Ukraine are unacceptable and must stop. Such intentional attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure add to the growing evidence of war crimes, as reported by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine.

Russia and its leadership must be held fully accountable for waging a war of aggression against Ukraine and for other most serious crimes under international law, as well as for the massive damage caused by their war. We reiterate our support for the work of the International Criminal Court and condemn Russia’s continued attempts to undermine its independence, international mandate and functioning.

ICC arrest warrants against two Russian military officers

Earlier in the week, the ICC issued arrest warrants against two Russian military officers, Sergei Ivanovich Kobylash and Viktor Nikolayevich Sokolov, for alleged war crimes of directing attacks against civilian objects and civilians. We also recall the legally binding order of the International Court of Justice of March of 2022, for Russia to immediately suspend its military operations in Ukraine.

All of us must keep reaffirming, at every opportunity, and decidedly when Russia bombs and threatens civilians, our unwavering support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, as well as its inherent right of self-defence. In a few days, Russia will hold ‘elections’ in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. It has already started to do so in some areas on 25 February with mail voting.

Russia has no legitimate basis for any such action on the territory of Ukraine. We unequivocally condemn and reject Russia’s illegal annexation attempts of Crimea and Sevastopol, and parts of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia oblasts. We urge all UN member states to do the same, in line with the UN Charter and the GA resolutions adopted by an overwhelming majority of member states.

Global Peace Summit

The path to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace is for the aggressor to immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all its troops and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine and respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity, in line with the decision of the General Assembly. And to stop at once its continued and brutal bombing of the country and its people.

The EU will continue its global outreach to ensure the widest possible international support for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace and the key principles and objectives of Ukraine’s Peace Formula, with a view to a Global Peace Summit. [IDN-InDepthNews]

Photo: Ambassador Stavros Lambrinidis @EUAmbUN

IDN is the flagship agency of the Non-profit International Press Syndicate.

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