Statement by the Republic of Lithuania on behalf of the Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
UN Security Council Meeting on Ukraine
13 January 2023, New York
I am delivering this statement on behalf of the Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia and my own country Lithuania. I thank USG DiCarlo for her briefing and the Presidency for the opportunity to address the Council.
Today’s date is symbolic for us, as on January 13 in Lithuania, we commemorate the Freedom Defenders Day. On this day in 1991 Lithuanian people stood unarmed against Soviet tanks, defending Lithuania’s independence and freedom. Each year we, the Baltic States, commemorate all our victims who died in fight for independence from the Soviet empire and continue to stand with Ukraine that today is defending not only Ukraine’s but also our freedom.
We are fast approaching a morbid milestone: one-year ‘anniversary’ of Russia’s unprovoked, unjustified and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine. As we speak, Russian troops continue systematic and massive attacks on civilians, as well as deliberate destruction of Ukrainian vital infrastructure, committing horrible war crimes in Ukraine daily.
This clearly demonstrates brutality and desperation of Russia’s regime. If not stopped, Russia will continue threatening rules based international order and pursuing its imperialist and colonial ambitions to retain Ukraine in its sphere of influence.
If Russia is not stopped, countries around the world will continue to experience the consequences of this war, including through the acute food and energy insecurity. We reiterate that Russia is solely responsible for these hardships by starting the war of aggression in blatant violation of the UN Charter and its key principles.
Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia fully support Ukraine’s initiative on the establishment of the Special Tribunal for the Punishment of the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine. There must be no impunity for Russia’s crimes committed on Ukrainian soil.
We commend the people of Ukraine for their admirable courage in defending their country, the international legal order and the UN Charter.
The international community must continue doing everything possible to help Ukraine to win this war and get through this winter, including through urgently providing specialized energy equipment and helping to repair destroyed energy infrastructure.
The Baltic States will continue to provide support to address the impact of Russia’s systemic and deliberate attacks on Ukraine’s energy sector, as well as other official assistance.
Our countries are among the largest supporters of Ukraine per capita together providing more than 1,3 billion EUR in official assistance to Ukraine since February 2022, and that – excluding private initiatives.
We have been assisting vulnerable communities in the conflict-torn eastern regions for the past eight years and have scaled up our assistance to meet the massive and urgent relief and protection needs for civilians across the Ukraine since last February. In order to help Ukrainian people to get through this winter our governments, civil society and private companies have already sent significant amount of equipment to Ukraine, including power generators, power transformers and spare parts.
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and the European Union, will continue to take the work forward on the options to use frozen Russian assets to support Ukraine’s reconstruction and for the purposes of reparation, in line with international law. We must ensure that principle ‘aggressor pays the damage’ is fully implemented in practice.
Baltic States support all meaningful efforts to bring Russia’s war of agression to an end. We welcome the 10 steps ‘Peace Formula’ proposed by the President of Ukraine, which we consider as a sound basis for achieving peace in Ukraine.
Any solution to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine must ensure that Ukraine’s voice is heard and that the sovereignity, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders is respected.
As the international community, we must continue to demand every single day that Russia stops this brutal aggression. Our position is clear: we will support Ukraine and defend the principles of the UN Charter as long as it is necessary. We are confident that Ukraine will prevail.
I thank you.