Statement by Estonia on Behalf of the Baltic States at UNSC meeting on Ukraine

77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

UN Security Council Meeting On Ukraine

Statement by the Republic of Estonia on behalf of the Baltic States – Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia

16 November 2022, New York

Mister President,

I am speaking on behalf of the three Baltic States – Latvia, Lithuania and my own country, Estonia. We thank the Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo for her most valuable briefing.

Allow me to start by commending the immense bravery of the Ukrainian defense forces that last Friday, after months of Russian occupation, took back control of Kherson. There is no doubt that sooner or later Ukraine will liberate all the occupied territories within its internationally recognized borders. These territories are Ukraine and Ukraine has every right to defend them in full accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter. We are steadfast in supporting Ukraine’s efforts for as long as it takes, and will continue providing strong political, military and financial support to Ukraine.

Russian missiles hitting critical infrastructure and residential buildings in Kyiv and in a number of other Ukrainian cities yesterday once again prove that Russia is not interested in peace. During the heaviest wave of missile strikes against Ukraine since February, two Polish citizens lost their lives in an explosion that took place in the east of Poland. Allow me to extend our condolences to families of all those who lost their lives in these barbaric attacks. Notwithstanding ongoing investigations, it is clear that Russia alone bears the responsibility for the explosion as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine.

We commend the swift actions by the UN humanitarian agencies, led by the Humanitarian Coordinator Denise Brown, to bring humanitarian aid to Kherson on Monday for the first time since the Russian forces took control of Kherson. As in other liberated areas, the Russian army left Kherson with the trail of atrocity crimes. The city was left without water, heat, electricity and communications. We urge Russia to give access to humanitarian organizations to areas currently under their occupation so that necessary emergency assistance can reach all those in need in Ukraine.

The winter is approaching fast in Ukraine with the temperatures expected to fall well below freezing point. By using missiles and Iranian-supplied drones, Russia’s deliberate strikes against Ukraine’s energy facilities have left by now 7 million people without electricity. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are continuing to provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine to address the needs worsened by the winter and the Russian attacks against Ukraine’s infrastructure, as well as demining assistance.

We also urge Russia to give access to the UN representatives and the ICRC to the places of detention of civilians and prisoners of war, and ensure access of the UN Fact-Finding Mission to Olenivka. The forced deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia is a war crime. Children belong to their families and loved ones and they must be safely and immediately returned to their homes.

Mr President,

The Russian unprovoked and brutal war of aggression against Ukraine has triggered issues of deep global concern. Due to Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian seaports and the destruction of necessary infrastructure Russia has caused a global food crisis and essentially weaponized food and hunger as means of hybrid warfare. The Black Sea Grain Initiative, alongside the EU-led Solidarity Lanes has, therefore, been instrumental in stabilizing the global food market and providing food to millions of people in Africa, Asia and Europe. Russia’s statements claiming that Ukrainian grain is reaching only European countries and that its own grain and fertilizers shipments are prohibited by Western sanctions are fake, as we have heard the UN officials attest also in this Council. We praise the UN Secretary General and Türkiye for all the efforts to renew the grain deal. We urge Russia to agree to the renewal of the initiative beyond November 19 and implement it in good faith.

We strongly condemn Russia’s irresponsible nuclear rhetoric and its cynical accusations against Ukraine of creating a “dirty bomb”. These accusations have been clearly and unequivocally refuted by the IAEA. We urge Russia to immediately withdraw all of its troops and military equipment from the premises of the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant that Russia illegally controls and stop its nuclear blackmail.

Finally, it is crucial that all evidence of crimes and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed in Ukraine continue to be gathered in a manner that will hold up in independent, impartial judicial institutions. We are determined to ensure that all those responsible for war or other atrocity crimes must be held to account. But as has been said: “The most responsible people are those who decided to wage this illegal war against Ukraine”. The aggressor cannot go unpunished, or others will follow its lead. We, therefore, call for establishing a special tribunal to fill the current jurisdictional loophole and bring the Russia’s top political and military leadership to justice for committing the crime of aggression against Ukraine.

I thank you.