Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Russia has violated OSCE’s core principles – UK closing statement at OSCE Ministerial Council [November 2022]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 2 December 2022.

Ambassador Neil Bush condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and stresses that the OSCE and the European security architecture are worth fighting for.

Thank you Mr Chair, to you and your talented, committed team. And for your hospitality here in Łódź. In this testing year, we are grateful for your outstanding leadership and that of the Secretary General, the institutions and the hard working OSCE staff. You have all stood up for this institution. You have all stood up for the values and principles we have freely signed up to. And you have rightly realised that those who violate those principles and commitments should not be able to hide behind consensus or rules of procedures.

Russia’s unprovoked and barbaric invasion of Ukraine – supported by the Belarusian regime – has attempted to break the foundations of European security. Russia has violated the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act’s core principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and the non-use of force. As the vast majority of OSCE States have expressed here in Łódź – these principles matter, this organisation matters and we will stand up to defend both. The OSCE and the European security architecture are worth fighting for.

As my Foreign Secretary said – if the OSCE was irrelevant or ineffectual it would not have been so systematically attacked by Russia. Russia forcibly ended the mandates of the Border Observation Mission, the Special Monitoring Mission, and the Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine. This unilateral and destructive behaviour was designed to blunt the tools of the organisation. But, Mr Chair, we have united under your leadership. We have innovated. And we have ensured the OSCE’s toolkit – designed to make us all safer and more secure – has remained both relevant and effective. By using the OSCE’s military transparency measures, we exposed Russian and Belarussian lies, false promises and ill-intent towards their sovereign neighbour. We deployed the Moscow Mechanism to shine a spotlight on the atrocities committed by Russian forces in Ukraine and to support accountability. We are proud to contribute to the OSCE’s Support Programme for Ukraine – an innovation which shows that the OSCE will not be held to ransom.

As we stand united with Ukraine, we must not forget the state of human rights within the Russian Federation and Belarus. Internal repression and external aggression are two sides of the same coin – when a State places a stranglehold on the freedoms of its own people – it sets the conditions for, and enables, aggression abroad. Mr Chair, we should thank our predecessors for understanding that human rights and fundamental freedoms sit at the core of our collective security. They were right. Our job – day in and day out – is to continue to defend and advance those crucial rights and freedoms.

Yesterday Russia spoke about confrontation. Ironic for a country which has invaded Georgia in 2008, illegally annexed Crimea in 2014 and then launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February this year. In parallel, Russia has vainly tried to frustrate and disrupt the work of the OSCE. We have shown once again in Łódź – that no one is fooled. We will uphold the rules because they are the foundation of the security of every State in this room.

We offer our full support to North Macedonia as incoming Chair. We are under no illusions. Their task will also be a challenging one, but we are fully committed in our support. We stand by Ukraine. We stand by the OSCE. And we stand by the foundations and values of the European security architecture. That is why we are here.