Thank you, Madam Chair. Last week, Russia once again advocated that this Forum be used for dialogue, to adhere to the appropriate functions for which the Forum was designed; namely to negotiate and consult on concrete measures aimed at strengthening security and stability throughout Europe. It is my hope this week that the Russian delegation will remain for the duration of the session, for dialogue is as much about listening as talking.
Last week, this Forum heard Russia’s statement and we were able to reflect on Russia’s position against objective facts. Unfortunately, once again, Russia’s 25-minute monologue bore little resemblance to reality. Some of this was obvious in the small details, such as the slide presentation professing to show supposed British captured equipment in Patriot Park; a cursory glance will show that this is not British equipment. In some of the more significant details contained within Russia’s statement, there was inaccuracy about the environmental and health effects attributable to the use of Depleted Uranium ammunition; I regret that the Russian delegate did not stay to hear the objective findings concerning these munitions. At the geopolitical level, we heard yet more disinformation about western attempts to revive a so-called ‘unipolar order’; if by a unipolar order, Russia meant a common set of principles as encapsulated in the UN charter for the furtherance of peace, then I will concede that on this point it is correct. However, I suspect that was not Russia’s meaning.
And this is why the vast majority of nations in this Forum condemn Russian actions; because it has violated the principles about which I speak. Principles that Russia, along with all other OSCE participating States co-wrote and committed to upholding. Now I will talk about facts, not the disinformation that we continually hear from the Russian delegate. Russia launched an unprovoked attack against a neighbouring country. It has brought untold misery and death to many thousands of people. A growing number of international bodies such as the Commission of Inquiry of the United Human Rights Council, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the OSCE have reported evidence of war crimes committed by Russian military forces including summary killings and the forced deportation of children into Russia from Ukraine. These are not fabrications and it would be beholden on the delegate to reflect on the horrendous enormity of such actions.
This week we have seen once again the terrible impact of Russia’s war of aggression. Russia has unleashed long range strikes of unusual intensity damaging and destroying energy infrastructure and grain storage facilities. Once again, yet more Ukrainian civilians have been killed and, in Odesa, a landmark hotel has been destroyed.
But conversely we may also note that, in its inherent right to self-defence, Ukraine has inflicted significant damage to Russia’s strategic depth following the successful strike on its Black Sea Fleet Headquarters. This is yet another strategic reversal for Russia. In addition, the Ukrainian Defense Contact Group, comprising more than 50 countries continues to pledge support through the provision of arms to help Ukraine restore its territorial integrity. To be clear, this is not a group of subjugated countries bowing to the pressure of a unipolar order; it is the reflection of multiple nations coming together in unity to assist Ukraine in its defence. As has been repeatedly pledged, in this endeavour the UK will stand united with Ukraine for as long as it takes.
Madam Chair, this statement is not intended as a tit-for-tat, but as an overview of verifiable information. The UK welcomes that there will be a Security Dialogue later in the year on ‘Information Integrity’. It is my hope that the Russian delegation reflects on this issue and choses to embrace mature diplomacy and multilateralism. This is what they say they want; now is the time to see it. Thank you.