Statement by H.E. Mrs. Olta Xhacka, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania, at the Security Council briefing on Maintenance of Peace and Security of Ukraine

Mme President,

I join other colleagues to thank France for convening today’s briefing and Minister Colonna for chairing it.

This issue has been without interruption on the agenda of the Council but this meeting could not be timelier given the latest escalatory declarations by Kremlin.

I also welcome the decision of the French Presidency of the Council to continue keeping the focus on accountability, an issue of the utmost importance that we initiated together back in April with the Arria formula meeting that Albania and France organized jointly.

I also thank ICC Prosecutor General Khan for his information and his tireless efforts to establish accountability in Ukraine.

Mme. President,

The Russian Federation, a Permanent Member of the Security Council, has waged an illegal war of aggression against Ukraine. In our judgement and in the eyes of the entire world, as clearly expressed more than once here, in the United Nations, Russia’s actions are an egregious violation of the Charter of the United Nations.

Let’s not forget that the highest international justice body, the International Court of Justice has ordered Russia to suspend its military operation in Ukraine. International law is the same and mandatory for all. Russia has unfortunately chosen to openly and continuously ignore it.

The very principle and belief upon which the UN was founded was that the only way to prevent war was through universal norms and laws accepted by all in the new post-World War II order. In the decades since, despite the challenges and difficulties, we have all managed to strengthen and expand the reach of international law and multilateral cooperation and we have agreed that no one can stand above the law.

We had hoped that the world would never again go back to that distant past, but the war in Ukraine and Russia’s flagrant attempt to conquer and annex parts of Ukraine’s territory are actions reminiscent of the dark days of Fascism and Stalinism.

And there is much more in what is happening in Ukraine today that is reminiscent of those dark days. Reports and fact-finding missions from the ground, footage the whole world has seen reveal a basic truth about Russia’s actions: an appalling, criminal brutality against the civilian population. Innocent men, women and children in Ukraine, as well as tens of thousands of Russian soldiers have paid with their lives for Vladimir Putin’s war of choice. Millions around the world are going hungry because of Vladimir Putin’s war of choice.

We condemn Russia’s new path of confrontation by announcing a partial mobilisation in Russia, by supporting the organization of illegal “referenda” in 4 Ukrainian territories currently occupied, and by threatening again with the use of weapons of mass destruction.

These sham referenda are another blatant violation of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and a serious violation of the UN Charter.

We reiterate our unwavering support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and reiterate our call for Russia to completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its troops and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.

This is why we must galvanize our forces and continue to help Ukraine defend itself.

But that is why too, we must work to guarantee full accountability for what Russia is doing in Ukraine.

It is to provide justice, but this is also to prevent future atrocities.

We all tried to prevent this conflict. We could not, but we must not fail to hold Russia accountable.

Thank you!

 

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