Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Russia still unaccountable for its indiscriminate attacks against Ukraine: UK statement to the OSCE [October 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 19 October 2023.

Ambassador Neil Holland condemns recent attacks by Russia and reiterates UK support to Ukraine, including at the Warsaw Human Dimension Conference 2023.

Thank you, Mr Chair.

At yesterday’s Forum for Security Cooperation, Russia condemned the ‘indiscriminate’ attacks by others on civilian targets. Mr Chair, I would like to remind this Council that Russia is yet to answer for their indiscriminate attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine. Russia has resisted accountability.

There have been reports overnight of deaths in Zaporizhzhia following Russian missile strikes. Russia is also still to answer for the recent missile strike on the village of Hroza. On 5 October, as families gathered in the north-eastern Kharkiv region to mourn and pay respects to a fallen Ukrainian soldier, the funeral wake turned to bloodshed. What should have been a day of mourning and closure, ended with the deceased person’s entire immediate family also dead.

One in five of the people of Hroza were killed that day. This attack was unprovoked and premeditated and our thoughts are with the victims’ families and loved ones. As made clear during the Special Permanent Council, the UK is appalled by Russia’s barbaric killing of civilians, including children.

According to the UN, there have been 10,000 civilian deaths and tens of thousands of casualties since Russia mounted its full-scale invasion last year. Russia’s actions are an egregious violation of international law including the UN Charter.

The UK and our partners will continue to gather in this room and stand united in condemning these brutal attacks. The UK and the international community will continue to rally around Ukraine. We will not stop until Ukraine wins.

I would like to thank our Chair in Office for hosting the 2023 Warsaw Human Dimension Conference against attempts to block it from happening.

As Europe’s largest annual human rights Conference, this is yet another strong signal of the OSCE’s commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms in the OSCE region. Events like this exemplify the work of the OSCE.

We saw 1,500 participants from civil society, government and academia gather. As ever, we were struck by the bravery of individuals who came to Warsaw to share their stories and to fight to protect fundamental human rights. The UK wants to assure these individuals that we will not forget them, and we will do our best to protect them.

Over the course of ten days, we heard first-hand of Russia’s human rights violations against Russia’s own people and through its illegal full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The Conference highlighted Russia’s absence and isolation. It also coincided with the thirty-sixth report by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The report paints a stark picture of the price that Ukrainians are paying for Russia’s war. It details widespread torture, mock executions, and sexual violence.

Mr Chair, for as long as Russia steps on and disregards human rights, the UK and our international partners will continue to hold them to account.

Thank you.