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Speech: The only thing Russia will achieve in Ukraine is dishonour, disgrace and defeat: UK statement to the OSCE

Since November, we have seen Russian forces make an effort to advance on multiple fronts. However, with poorly trained and equipped mobilised reserves and convicts making up much of the mass, Russian forces have not been able to deploy effectively enough to break through. Any tactical gains Russia has managed have come at huge cost. Thousands of Russians continue to pay the price for their frustrated Russian military leaders, who have doubled down on flawed blunt edged attritional tactics in place of effective leadership. Last week, our Russian colleague again pursued the tired false narrative that Russia is the victim and NATO the aggressor. I would remind our Russian colleague that the facts tell a different story: NATO didn’t invade Ukraine. Russia did. Before Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, there was no NATO Enhanced Forward Presence.  In response to Russia’s use of military force against Ukraine, NATO deployed four multinational battlegroups to the Baltic States and Poland in 2016.  These and NATO’s subsequent deployments to protect its members are a direct result of Russia’s aggressive actions in 2014 and its full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year.  Russia, and only Russia, is responsible. Ukraine will win. It can rely on continued steadfast support from the UK and other partners. We remain unwavering in our commitment to the principles of the UN Charter. We will keep the promises we have made to the Ukrainian people and will give them all the help they need, for as long as it takes, until Ukraine prevails. Giving Ukraine the support it needs to defend itself and push Russia out of its sovereign territory is the swiftest and only path to a just and lasting peace. Thank you. In the face of these setbacks, the Kremlin has adopted a strategy of long-range missiles strikes on critical national infrastructure which deliberately aim to spread terror amongst civilians in Ukraine. Many of these strikes by Russian forces have no military value. Russia’s continued violations of international law and increased targeting of civilians indicates systemic moral bankruptcy. It is a cynical and calculated strategy of wanton destruction. It is a strategy that will fail and another sign of the Kremlin’s desperation. In contrast, during Ukraine’s autumn counter offensive, Ukraine achieved significant momentum, pushing Russia out of the northeast and southern parts of the country. Ukraine has liberated over half of the territory Russia seized since 24 February 2022. Ukraine has also hugely increased its success in shooting down Russian missiles, and despite its overwhelming numerical advantage in aircraft, Russia still has not been able to achieve air superiority over Ukraine. Mr Chair, those complicit in the Kremlin’s unprovoked aggression and those who peddle its blizzard of lies to hide the truth from the Russian people should be ashamed. Putin’s war of choice has led the Russian people into a quagmire and turned Russia into an international pariah. The only thing Russia will achieve in Ukraine is dishonour, disgrace and defeat. Mr Chair, it is undeniable that President Putin badly miscalculated in Ukraine. And yet, his government officials and diplomats have repeatedly censored free speech and peddled disinformation to try and cover up his lies. And the lies continue. Thank you, Mr Chair. When Russia launched its brutal and illegal full-scale invasion of Ukraine a year ago, President Putin expected to succeed within a few weeks. Twelve months later, reports indicate that approximately 800 Russian soldiers a day are dying for his hopeless ambitions. In this Forum on 26 January, our Russian colleague stated that Russia “has never set out to destroy Ukraine as a State”. That is blatantly false. On 25 November 2021, as Russia continued its build-up of pre-invasion forces, our Russian colleague called upon the West to “temper their ardour” and “prevent any further escalation, which could lead to lamentable consequences, including the collapse of Ukrainian statehood”. As Russia has rained down missiles on Ukraine – reducing entire cities, towns and villages to rubble, killing and injuring thousands of innocent civilians – it is all too clear to everyone who is threatening whose statehood.


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