By Ambassadors of countries friendly to Ukraine
February 24, 2023, published in Spanish by El Universal
One year ago today, Russia began its unjustified and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, a neighboring, sovereign and independent country. Since the beginning of the war, the suffering has not stopped and the violence continues to have devastating effects on thousands of civilian victims, including children. Attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure continue unabated, leaving millions of people without electricity, water and heating.
This aggression has also produced the largest and fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II. It is estimated that more than 14 million people have been displaced as a result of the invasion. In December 2022, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimated that there were 7.83 million Ukrainian refugees in Europe.
Despite the enormous challenges, Ukraine continues to resist in the face of the Russian onslaught. From day one, our governments have been steadfast in our support for Ukraine. We support its legitimate defense, its economic, military and humanitarian needs, as well as its reconstruction. We continue to weaken the Russian war effort, putting pressure through sanctions, a strategy that already has – and will have – significant results.
Russian aggression is a flagrant violation of international law and the UN Charter. All countries in favor of peace and the rules-based international order must condemn Russia’s actions, not only as an attack on a sovereign country, but as a breach of this global order by a permanent member of the Security Council. Every day brings more information about the violation of international humanitarian law by Russian forces, including the torture and killing of civilians. Impunity for war crimes and other atrocities cannot be allowed, and it is essential to ensure accountability and seek ways to prosecute those responsible in accordance with international law.
We support the pursuit of a diplomatic solution. However, this path has to involve the full preservation of Ukrainian sovereignty and the withdrawal of Russian troops. The 10-point peace plan presented by Ukrainian President Zelensky is an important step in this direction. We reaffirm that peace must not compromise the freedom and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Submitting to Russian aggression and occupation would imply breaking not only with the European security order, but also with the global one. It would be endorsing that a power dominates, through force, a smaller country, violating international commitments and treaties. This war has economic, social and humanitarian consequences beyond the borders of Ukraine and even of Europe. Millions of people around the world face food insecurity, due to Russian-imposed blockades on the export of agricultural products such as wheat and the impact of the conflict on global energy markets. Ukraine’s partners have spearheaded solidarity efforts toward vulnerable countries to mitigate these consequences of the invasion.
This invasion also tests our commitment to international law and the defense of universal values. In this struggle, it is important to work alongside countries like Mexico, which have a long tradition of promoting peace, multilateralism and respect for international treaties and international humanitarian law. We work closely with Mexico and, together, we very clearly condemn the Russian invasion in multilateral forums such as the Security Council and the United Nations General Assembly. Putting pressure on Russia together to desist from its aggression is the only way to accelerate the end of the war, for the good of all.
* Ambassadors of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America and the European Union.