Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Putin’s War of Aggression in Ukraine increases Russia’s Diplomatic Isolation – UK statement to the OSCE [January 2024]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 25 January 2024.

UK military advisor, Nicholas Aucott, says Putin’s disastrous military campaign has diplomatically diminished Russia as it turns to North Korea and Iran.

Thank you, Mr Chair. I look forward to working with you and your team over this trimester and note the rich programme of Security Dialogue topics that will be discussed during this period. Sadly, however, the overwhelming concern of this Forum remains Russia’s ongoing war of aggression in Ukraine. Russia’s invasion of its sovereign neighbour has contravened international law and the underlying principles of this organisation. It is important that we, as a collective organisation of responsible states, reflect on the reality of this point because Russia is keen that this brutal action becomes lost in the noise of diplomatic obfuscation and a sense of normality.

There is nothing ‘normal’ in this reality; everyday innocent Ukrainian lives are lost as a consequence of Russia’s war of choice. Russia has continued to terrorise the Ukrainian civilian population, exemplified in its missile and drone attacks which struck residential areas in Kyiv and Kharkiv yesterday. Viewed from any angle, Russia’s full scale invasion of Ukraine is nothing short of an unmitigated disaster for Russia. Having failed in the pursuit of its war aims, Russia’s campaign in the last week has achieved little except an increase in its own casualties and equipment losses.

In order to continue its war, Russia has needed to ramp up its defence spending, which has come at the expense of other areas and accelerating inflation. This has forced the Central Bank of Russia to double interest rates to 16% since July 2023. The cost of Russia’s war continues to rise.

As a consequence of the resilience of the brave people of Ukraine, and with the support of the vast of majority of this Forum, Ukraine remains resolute in the face of aggression and continues to thwart Russia’s malign intentions. On 14 January, Ukraine destroyed a Russian A-50 MAINSTAY, a key enabler for Russian operations over Ukraine, providing airborne early warning of threats as well as command and control functionality. Ukraine has increased its agricultural exports in December 2023 to the highest level since the war began, reopened its main Black Sea ports and it has established a unilateral shipping export channel. Additionally, it has largely repelled the Russian Black Sea Fleet from operating in the western Black Sea.

These achievements are demonstrative of what can be accomplished when illegal aggressive actions are confronted. This situation is a far cry from Putin’s assertion that Russia’s subjugation of Ukraine would be accomplished within a matter of days and, almost two years on from the full scale invasion, Russia is now diplomatically diminished, aligning with North Korea and Iran.

Following the UK Prime Minister’s visit to Ukraine on 12 January, the United Kingdom has committed to an increased package of support amounting to £2.5Bn next financial year and signed an historic security agreement to provide Ukraine with the assurances it needs for the long term. As a consequence of this package, the United Kingdom has provided Ukraine with close to £12Bn of military, economic and humanitarian support in a clear signal of our unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Ukraine has fought with great courage to defend their country and defend the principles of freedom and democracy. But Ukraine will never be alone. The United Kingdom will stand with Ukraine today, tomorrow and for as long as it takes. Thank you.