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Joint Nordic-Baltic Statement on the Situation in the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine

Delivered by Lotte Machon, Deputy Minister for Development Policy of Denmark

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I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic States, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden – and my own country Denmark.

As Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine rages on, we must recall that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine did not start last year.

Nine years ago, the Russian Federation launched a hybrid aggression in the east of Ukraine and illegally annexed Crimea and Sevastopol.

But since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, Russia has further illegally occupied and annexed parts of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine, in addition to parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which it had occupied by proxy since 2014. All in clear violation of international law, including the UN Charter.

The human rights situation in the temporarily occupied territories has severely deteriorated since 2014, and has become critical since the full-scale invasion last year. Credible reports show that residents, especially Crimean Tartars and those perceived as pro-Ukrainian, face systematic restrictions of their human rights and fundamental freedoms, such as the rights to freedom of expression, religion or belief, association and peaceful assembly.

We also continue to witness systematic violations of international humanitarian law, with reports of illegal detentions, torture, ill-treatment, summary executions of prisoners of war, rampant use of sexual violence and indiscriminate attacks against civilians, including children and civilian objects. In addition, there are reports of illegal deportations and transfers of Ukrainian children out of Ukraine, as well as forced adoptions, which constitute a potential war crime. In this regard, we have taken note of the decision of the International Criminal Court to issue arrest warrants against President Putin and Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights Lvova-Belova.

Moreover, reports show that Russia continues the forced adoption of Russian passports in territories under its temporary illegal occupation. This leaves Ukrainian citizens, who do not acquire Russian passports, at real risk of being deported from their homes, in violation of international law. And in yet another violation of international law, Russia has announced its intention to hold “elections” in September in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine.

These violations are compounded by the severity of the humanitarian needs of the civilian population in the temporarily occupied areas. We are deeply concerned that it has become nearly impossible for international monitoring bodies and humanitarian actors to gain safe and unhindered access to these areas, dramatically worsening the humanitarian situation on the ground.

We reiterate our condemnation of these actions as clear violations of international law and call on Russia to immediately end all hostilities and immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the entire territory of Ukraine.

We also condemn the continued military support for Russia’s war of aggression provided by Iran and Belarus.

We reaffirm our unwavering support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders, including its territorial waters.

We emphasize the importance of accountability for violations of international law, including human rights and international humanitarian law, committed in the temporarily occupied territories. We are committed to holding all perpetrators accountable for the crimes committed in connection with Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. We welcome progress towards the establishment of an appropriate mechanism for the prosecution of the crime of aggression, which is of concern to the international community as a whole. Impunity for these acts undermines the prospects for reconciliation and lasting peace, and diminishes the possibility of justice for victims and survivors.

We call for a thorough and independent investigation into all alleged violations of international law, ensuring that those responsible are held accountable through fair and transparent legal processes. We welcome the establishment of the Register of Damage, as agreed at the Council of Europe Summit in Reykjavík, as a first step toward an international compensation mechanism for victims of Russia’s aggression. And we look forward to the meeting of Ministers of Justice in Riga in September.

The Nordic-Baltic States stand united in our condemnation of Russia’s brutal aggression against Ukraine, as well as the ongoing illegal occupation. We stand united in support of Ukraine’s Peace Formula and call on the international community to work together to reach a comprehensive, just and lasting peace, consistent with the UN Charter.

Thank you, Mr. President.


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