The following is a joint statement by Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Micronesia, Montenegro, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Ukraine and the EU.
Violent extremism on the basis of xenophobia, racism and other forms of intolerance and the persecution of persons belonging to minorities is a serious subject that may pose a threat to international peace and stability and deserves a meaningful and constructive discussion. We therefore regret Russia’s misuse of this issue in a Security Council Arria-formula meeting it hosted today to make cynical and unfounded accusations against Member States, to distort history for its own political purposes, and to promote a false narrative and disinformation on neighboring countries. This is a deliberate attempt yet again to divert the international community’s attention from Russia’s own ongoing violations of international law, including violations of international human rights law, and abuses of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
We are deeply alarmed by the continuously shrinking space for civil society and increasingly dangerous environment for activists, human rights defenders, independent media outlets and journalists, and persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, as well as discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Russia. We strongly condemn killings, attacks, threats and any form of harassment against them.
The timing of this Arria-formula meeting is especially troubling, coming against the backdrop of Russian military build-up on the Crimean peninsula and on Ukraine’s borders. The UN Charter prohibits the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State. Any further military aggression against Ukraine would have massive consequences and a severe cost in response.
We reiterate our unwavering support for the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders including its territorial waters. We strongly condemn the ongoing temporary occupation of part of the territory of Ukraine, and reaffirm our non-recognition of its annexation. Russia’s actions are of global concern and in violation of international law, including the UN Charter, run contrary to Russia’s commitments under the Helsinki Final Act and the Paris Charter, and increasingly threaten the security of Europe and the rules-based international order.
We call on Russia to cease its hostile disinformation campaign against Ukraine, to de-escalate tensions in and around Ukraine, and to withdraw without delay the forces and equipment it has stationed in the country without Ukraine’s consent.