Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Russian leadership is not serious about peace in Ukraine – UK statement to the OSCE [May 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 4 May 2023.

Acting Ambassador Brown says that if Russia wanted peace, it would stop bombing Ukraine’s civilian population, demonstrate commitment to the Black Sea Grain Initiative and cease its campaign of disinformation.

Thank you, Mr Chair. Last week, in this room, the Russian Federation argued that it wants to see peace in Ukraine. We heard the Russian representative talk of “missed diplomatic opportunities” being measured in human lives and suffering. But let us be clear, Russia showed us clearly in the run up to the start of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine that it was not serious about engaging in diplomacy – it was focused only on deceit and furthering its territorial ambitions. And since then, Russia has shown us – week in and week out – that it is not serious about peace.

No-one wants peace more than Ukraine. Innocent Ukrainian people, who last Friday woke to the sound of missiles striking Uman and Dnipro. In Uman, six children were reported to be amongst those killed when Russian missiles hit a high-rise residential building. This was the first major wave of cruise missile strikes against Ukraine since early March, and followed drone strikes across several cities, including Kyiv and Odesa, in April, and further missile strikes affecting civilian infrastructure and residential areas in Kharkiv. This – the true face of Russia’s war effort – shows us that the Russian leadership is simply not serious about peace.

If Russia wanted peace, it would not be bombing Ukraine’s civilian population. Russia would not be targeting Ukraine’s critical civilian infrastructure, including power generation and hospitals. Russia would not have illegally seized control of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, subjecting its staff to horrific treatment, and increasing the risk of a nuclear incident which could threaten citizens of Ukraine and neighbouring countries. And certainly, as satellite imagery has revealed, Russia would not have constructed fighting positions on the Plant’s nuclear reactors. If Russia was serious about peace, it would withdraw all military personnel and equipment from the Plant, ensure its safe operation and return full control to its rightful owner – Ukraine.

If Russia was serious about peace, it would demonstrate its commitment to the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which has helped stabilise global food prices and alleviated a global food crisis severely exacerbated by Russia’s illegal war. Russia would stop using food as a weapon, by stopping threats to unilaterally leave the initiative and agree to a more sustainable, stable deal and unhindered inspections of those vessels waiting to join.

If Russia wanted a peaceful end to this war, it would cease the campaign of disinformation that it has peddled since the run-up to the full-scale invasion. It is clear that Russia aims to sow discord, obfuscate its responsibility for actions in Ukraine, and pin blame on the West and Ukraine’s partners. In this forum, and others, the UK will continue to call out Russia’s lies to ensure the world knows the true motives behind this illegal invasion.

In closing, Mr Chair, when Russia is serious about an end to its war, it must immediately cease attacks against Ukraine – including harming both critical national infrastructure and innocent civilians – and withdraw its forces from the entire territory of Ukraine. As long as Russia’s aggression persists, the United Kingdom will seize every opportunity to put pressure on Russia to stop its barbaric war, to expose Russia’s lies and to support Ukraine to protect and defend Ukraine’s sovereignty.

Thank you.