Statement by Estonian Foreign Minister at Security Council meeting on Ukraine

Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia Urmas Reinsalu at UN Security Council Meeting on Ukraine

24 February 2023, New York

Mr President,

Estonia is a neighbour of the aggressor state Russia. And this war has had a significant impact on my country. We have received tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees. During the course of war, we have been under systematic cyber-attacks coming from Russia.

Russia has been waging its full-scale brutal, unprovoked and genocidal war of aggression against Ukraine for 12 months now. Kremlin´s goal – to erase a sovereign and democratic Ukraine from the map – has not changed. After a year of courageous fight, Ukraine deserves peace more than ever. However, it cannot be a peace at all costs. We need just and lasting peace in full conformity with the UN Charter. Peace that upholds and reinforces rules based international order with the UN at its core. Peace that prevents the use of force to redraw international borders. These are exactly the same parameters that the overwhelming majority of the UN Member States voted for in the UN General Assembly resolution yesterday. The UN membership firmly supports a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine that rests on international law and the UN Charter. Ukrainian peace plan is based on the same universal values and principles, and I therefore call upon the UN membership to support President Zelensky´s 10-point peace plan.

Article 51 of the UN Charter grants every country a right to self-defence and we need collectively to ensure that Ukraine can defend itself against the aggressor. We have seen the heinous atrocities that Russia has committed and unfortunately still is committing today in Ukraine. This must stop and this is the reason why Estonia’s military aid to Ukraine has reached 1% of our GDP. We want sovereign Ukraine to survive this brutal aggression and win because then peace and justice will be established. I call all peoples of the world to raise their support to Ukraine.

Third, in order to achieve lasting peace, full accountability must be ensured. It includes our obligation to discredit completely aggression as an instrument of international relations. We owe it to the thousands of Ukrainians being killed, raped and forcibly displaced to hold Russia’s political and military leadership to account for the crime of aggression. Therefore, an international special tribunal for the crime of aggression in Ukraine within the UN system must be established. We cannot let Mr Putin hide in the judicial loophole. Mr Putin time will come and you will sit under the tribunal.

It is high time to learn from the past. The horrors of war we are witnessing today are the tragic consequences of the fact that the atrocity crimes committed by the Soviet Union during the Second World War, including against my country and my people, were left unpunished. Not only would a tribunal serve justice to the victims of this horrendous crime, it also serves as a deterrent and can help to prevent future conflicts.

Finally, today, on the 105th anniversary of my country, Estonia’s Declaration of Independence, my thoughts are with our brave countrymen and women who fought for our freedom and independence. And yet, I also pray for Ukraine and Ukrainians who are the bravest people I know. Ukraine is not only defending its country, people and right to exist, but Ukraine is also defending our common values of united mankind, international legal order and the UN Charter. Peace rises from truth. The Russian Federation is a terrorist regime, which commits genocide against Ukrainian people. World needs to recognise that.

Thank you!