Baltic statement at Security Council meeting on Ukraine

UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine

Statement by the Republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

26 July 2023, New York

President,

As a rule, whenever the Council meets to address Russia’s aggression against Ukraine the list of Russia’s crimes and atrocities has grown longer. Unfortunately, this time is no exception.

On 24 July Russia attacked Danube port facilities destroying agricultural warehouse with grain. It was the latest episode of attacks Russia has conducted since 17 July targeting port and agricultural facilities in the Odesa region, destroying tens of thousands of tonnes of Ukrainian grain, peas and barley.

These attacks have followed shortly after Russia’s announcement of its intent to terminate the Black Sea Grain Initiative, as if Russia was trying to underscore its willingness to undermine global food security as much as it can. Russia went even as far as announcing that it would consider any cargo ships travelling to Ukraine’s Black Sea ports as a military target. Such actions highlight Russia’s approach, which primarily considers food as a weapon of war rather than essential humanitarian good to prevent starvation and hunger around the globe. In this context, we are concerned of the recent reports of possible Russia’s attacks against civilian shipping in the Black Sea.

Russia has not stopped at destroying Ukraine’s food infrastructure. A few days ago, it also struck buildings in the Historic Centre of Odesa, which is a World Heritage site. Among the damaged buildings, as a result of Russia’s strikes, is the UNESCO protected Transfiguration Cathedral. We welcome strong condemnation by the Secretary General of these attacks, which add to already long list of historic and religious objects damaged as a result of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Overall, UNESCO has verified damage to 270 cultural sites in Ukraine, among them 116 religious sites.

After almost one and a half years of Russia’s invasion we witness a clear pattern of Russia’s deliberate steps aimed at causing maximum suffering to Ukraine’s civilian population, targeting Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure and destroying Ukraine’s cultural and religious heritage.

Russia may still hope that through such terror it can force Ukraine into subjugation as part of Putin’s neo- colonial imperial fantasies. However, this goal is as far from reality as it can be. Ukraine with support of its partners has demonstrated resilience and ironclad determination to withstand this brutal aggression and to rebuild everything that Russia’s has destroyed. We urge the international community to continue supporting Ukraine and to provide additional means to Ukraine to defend itself in its exercise of inherent right of self-defense.

President,

Russia’s trampling upon international law and international humanitarian law puts into serious question its credibility as a permanent member of the Security Council. Russia’s propaganda rings hollow in light of the hard facts demonstrating its disregard not only for the people of Ukraine, but also for people around the globe facing food insecurity exacerbated by Russia’s war of aggression against a sovereign country.

We reiterate the call on Russia to immediately end its aggression against Ukraine and stress the need to ensure full accountability to the perpetrators of Russia’s crimes, including the crime of aggression.

I thank you.