Mr President, Distinguished delegates,
I have the honor to speak on behalf of the eight Nordic-Baltic countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and my own country Latvia.
February 24th this year, Russia launched its brutal full-scale invasion of Ukraine, in blatant violation of international law and the UN Charter. By this war of aggression aided by Belarus, Russia has deliberately violated the fundamental right of all states to independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Moreover, this aggression has caused immense suffering to the people of Ukraine. It has triggered the largest humanitarian catastrophe in Europe since the World War II. More than 17 million people have been displaced. Ukraine has lost more than 40% of its GDP.
Today more than 3 million Ukrainians must get by without water, electricity, sanitation and heating. Russia’s armed forces have deliberately attacked critical civilian infrastructure, including energy grids, power interconnectors and water stations.
Just like other countries, Nordic-Baltic countries have been delivering considerable financial, humanitarian and military assistance to the people of Ukraine. We strongly believe that all Member States must seek ways how to support Ukraine.
This resolution on “Furtherance of Remedy and Reparation for Aggression against Ukraine” is giving us the possibility to further extend our support for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.
With this resolution, the General Assembly recognizes the need to establish an international mechanism to compensate Ukraine for the damages caused by Russia’s aggression. This resolution recommends the creation of a Registry of Damages to serve as a record of evidence and claims on damage, loss or injury caused by the aggression of Russia.
We believe it is important to collect and preserve evidence of Russia’s brutal aggression against Ukraine, because Russia must be held accountable for its internationally unlawful acts against Ukraine and Ukrainians.
Just a few hours ago, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told journalists that investigators have uncovered more than 400 war crimes in areas of Kherson abandoned by Russian forces as they retreated. There must be no impunity for these crimes or damages caused and perpetrators must be held to account.
In order to achieve this goal, evidence must be properly stored otherwise it could be potentially lost or damaged. Thus, we support that all evidence should be collected and stored in accordance with relevant international norms and standards.
The Nordic-Baltic countries reiterate our firm support to Ukraine. We are convinced that the respect for international law, the UN Charter and the international rules-based order are fundamental for our common security and multilateral cooperation.
We urge Russia to abide by international law and uphold its international commitments. We call for the Secretary General and the UN to continue efforts to restore the respect for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.
The UN Member States must support all mechanisms to restore justice to the victims of Russia’s aggression.
We therefore call all UN Member States to vote in favor of the resolution.
Thank you, Mr. President.