“We the peoples of the United Nations” founded this organization “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”.
Today, a permanent member of the Security Council with a particular responsibility to maintain international peace and securityhas brought this scourge back upon us all.
Russia’s playbook is simple:
It denies its sovereign neighbor the very right to exist, and has launched a war of aggression.
Russia has seized land. To secure its land grab, Russia organized a so-called “referendum” in several Ukrainian territories.
Russia now threatens to keep the territories it illegally attempted to annex by any means necessary. It does not even shy away from nuclear threats against a country that has voluntarily given up its nuclear arsenal.
Therefore, I am asking today: Does the Russian government still subscribe to the declaration from January 3rd 2022 by the leaders of all five nuclear weapon state, reaffirming the central principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought?
Today it is Ukraine – tomorrow it could be any of us. The sovereign equality and territorial integrity of any of us would be at the mercy of our neighbors – or of whoever feels they have a territorial claim or a historical grievance.
The sham referenda and Russia’s illegal annexations are null and void. We are all under a legal obligation to refuse to recognize them—not now, not ever.
The UN Charter is crystal-clear: we have an obligation to “settle […] international disputes by peaceful means”. The resolution on the table recalls this obligation while reaffirming the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
On March 2nd 2022, 141 Member States of this Assembly voted in favour of resolution ES-11/1. By doing so, they voiced their strong support for the founding principles of the United Nations, and called on Russia to stop this war. This was a great moment in the history of this noble Assembly. Now is the time to stand by our principles – and to show once again our passion and support for the UN Charter.
Many UN Member States have recently voiced their wish that this war be settled by means of diplomacy. This is reflected in the text of the draft resolution. We are grateful for the many valuable contributions to this text from across the globe.
The United Nations Secretary General has been clear: Russia’s annexations “cannot be reconciled with the international legal framework. It stands against everything the international community is meant to stand for. It flouts the purposes and principles of the United Nations. It is a dangerous escalation. It has no place in the modern world. It must not be accepted.”
Let us heed this call of the Secretary General. Let us stand by the UN Charter. Only a clear and principled commitment to the Charter can serve as a basis for future talks. I count on everyone to vote in favour of the resolution on the table.