HomeUnited KingdomOSCE Reinforced Permanent Council, February 2024: UK statement

OSCE Reinforced Permanent Council, February 2024: UK statement

Because people are still dying every day in Ukraine. … is not only a threat to security in our region, … The creation of this organisation heralded a new age. Russia’s defiance of all laws and norms – from the Helsinki Decalogue to the UN Charter – to long-standing principles of just war … We must, however, continue to make it absolutely clear: there is no possible defence for Russia’s behaviour. But the reality of Russia’s war is tragic. Another Russian transport ship sunk by Ukraine – a further blow to President Putin’s hold on Crimea. Ministers discussed this in Skopje. Since then, the fundamentals have not changed. He has rejected the hope represented by the OSCE. As time passes, Russia twists itself into even more implausible contortions to justify its position. Dmytro, your soldiers and your people continue to defy the odds. Thank you. I know this is a shared conviction; I see a quiet determination across most states, to stand with Ukraine, and to stand up for our values. An age in which we all, here at the OSCE, sought to build a more constructive relationship with Moscow. Addressing the Rada, he said: “Be in no doubt…. We are here for Ukraine – for as long as it takes.” Thank you, Minister Borg for bringing us all together. And thank you again for your leadership as Chair at such a challenging time. It is clear that President Putin will not stop in his reckless actions. … but it is a threat to the international order. Indeed, Kremlin repression in defiance of OSCE principles continues unabated, with the tragic death of Alexei Navalny showing how they silence those who speak out. A precious A-50 spy plane and over-hyped hypersonic Kinzhal missiles struck down – a further blow to President Putin’s stocks of modern military equipment. And news that Ukraine is on track to export all its 2023 grain – a further blow to President Putin’s strategy of economic pressure. They display the utmost bravery and great skill in keeping Moscow under pressure. Consider the news in recent weeks. So it is absolutely fitting that we gather today, two years after the illegal, unprovoked and wholly unjustified invasion of one of our participating States by another. Secondly, we must stand with Ukraine and stand up for human rights. Finally, we must of course also back the OSCE. First, it remains absolutely clear that Russia is responsible. It took time. But the Cold War ended. And a new age did dawn. The OSCE exists to support security in our region. Sadly, President Putin has rejected this. So we must redouble our efforts to maintain this organisation– times like these show us more than ever why it is needed. Since we last met, my Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visited Ukraine. Nevertheless, it is heartening that there are few illusions here about what Russia is doing.

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