It has been over nine months since Russia started its full-scale aggression against Ukraine.
In recent weeks, Russia has waged its war with ever more systematic attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure far from the front line – with a special focus on disrupting basic services, such as electricity, water and heat, during winter. To quote my Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock: “The Russian president uses the cold as a weapon of war”, attacking the most vulnerable in Ukraine.
Let me be clear: These attacks are deliberate attacks on civilian infrastructure. They are a blatant breach of international humanitarian law. Article 54(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions stipulates that “It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove, or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population”.
The humanitarian impact of these attacks is shocking. Hospitals, schools, water supply stations, residential buildings etc. are clearly no military targets, but serve civilian needs only. Deliberately and systematically destroying the power supply and heating systems of an entire country in the midst of winter is simply barbaric and inhuman.
I urge Russia to stop this cruelty immediately.
It is important to coordinate all support for Ukraine’s energy infrastructure among international partners and allies. After the successful G7 plus Foreign Ministers meeting in Bucharest, the summit in Paris on 13 December will be the next important step.
Germany will continue to stand by Ukraine to end this war. Last Friday, Chancellor Scholz spoke with President Putin. He urged the swift withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine as a precondition to any diplomatic solution. Germany welcomes that President Zelensky has articulated his vision for peace in his 10-point peace formula.
Germany will continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes. We will help Ukraine uphold its resilience. We stand committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. Russia needs to reverse its course, and immediately and unconditionally stop its aggression and withdraw its troops.