Baltic statement at UNSC meeting on Ukraine

UN Security Council Briefing on Maintenance of Peace and Security of Ukraine

Statement delivered by H.E. Mr. Rein Tammsaar, Permanent Representative of Estonia on behalf of the Republic of Estonia, Republic of Latvia and the Republic of Lithuania

15 March 2024, New York

Mister/Madame President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the three Baltic countries – Latvia, Lithuania and my own country, Estonia. We also align ourselves with the Statement of the European Union.

Thank you for convening today’s Security Council briefing. I would also like to thank Under-Secretary General Rosemary DiCarlo for your valuable insight.

Mister/Madame President,

Starting from today, the so-called presidential elections are taking place in Russia. In the months leading to the so-called elections, Kremlin has increased its propaganda and media censorship and eliminated opposition members physically via imprisonment or murder, as it was with Alexey Navalny. Ordinary citizens, who according to Kremlin’s twisted KGB logic, display even a lightest kind of dissent are being frightened, silenced or detained. The number of political prisoners in Russia is rapidly growing.

On the legitimacy of these elections, quoting Russia´s imprisoned prominent opposition figure Mr Kara-Murza seems appropriate: „Putin is not a legitimately elected president. Putin’s next term is illegal. He is a dictator and a usurper. It’s time the free world finally said so. Sometimes the most powerful tool of all is simply telling the truth”.

Externally, in the shadows of its ongoing aggression against Ukraine, Russia is conducting hybrid operations. During the past month, Russia has initiated criminal cases against more than 80 politicians and senior officials from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Czechia. Furthermore, Russian dissidents, journalists, human rights activists and others who are living abroad and are opposing Kremlin’s revanchist narratives and actions are in danger too. Some are labelled foreign agents, intimidated, threatened. This week, a violent attack in line with Kremlin’s actions against opposition was acted out in Vilnius against Navalny´s close ally Mr. Volkov.

Mister/Madame President,

I would like to emphasize once more, that any attempted land grab under any pretext runs against the UN Charter and the International law. It cannot be justified or covered up with any fake referenda at the Russian gun point. Crimea, Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson are an integral part of internationally recognized territory of Ukraine. So-called elections in the illegally occupied territories of Ukraine therefore cannot be neither justified nor tolerated as holding the so-called elections in the temporarily occupied and illegally annexed territories of Ukraine is in itself a grave violation of international law, violation of the UN Charter and Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Let me remind you that last year the General Assembly overwhelmingly condemned Russia’s attempted illegal annexation of temporarily occupied Ukrainian regions.

Mister/Madame President

For these reasons, the Baltic States will never recognize or support holding of such fake elections nor can we accept their results.

Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and all Russia´s criminal actions in violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine in its internationally recognised borders are not compatible with Russia´s permanent membership obligations. Unfortunately for two last years by its criminal acts and by shielding away from accountability for its crimes with the veto right, this country continues to drag down the entire legitimacy and image of this very Council and thus of the UN. I regret we were not able to collectively prevent or stop this.

Lastly, we once again call upon Russia to immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its troops and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.

Thank you