Thank you, Mr Chair. The Russian government has miscalculated in Ukraine on several counts. Firstly, they have underestimated the resolve and heroism of the Ukrainian people, who successfully defended their capital and forced Russian invaders into retreat. Secondly, they have underestimated the resolve of the international community; the result of this aggression has been to unite the free world in support of Ukraine, bolstering international cooperation and isolating Russia politically and economically. And finally, they have underestimated the strength of the principle of sovereignty in the 21st century; President Putin’s actions have only brought into sharper focus the right of all countries to determine their own foreign, defence and security policy.
As we enter a new phase of the war, characterised by a slow and brutal campaign of attrition by Russia in eastern Ukraine, the Kremlin has committed yet another catastrophic error of judgment. For President Putin thinks that if he draws out the brutality for long enough, the rest of the world will tire of supporting Ukraine. Let me be clear: we will never tire of defending freedom and democracy. As my Prime Minister said during his visit to Kyiv last week: (Ukraine), the UK is with you, and we will be with you until you ultimately prevail.
Mr Chair, the framework of this organisation is founded on the recognition that security is comprehensive and comprises resilience across a broad spectrum of elements. Indeed, this was the basis of the PCU’s highly successful multi-dimensional approach. UK support to Ukraine will continue to reflect these principles. We will help Ukraine to be victorious on the battlefield; to address the humanitarian impact of Russian crimes and hold perpetrators to account; and to rebuild what the Russian government and Russian military has destroyed.
The immediate priority is maintaining our military aid. We and our partners will continue to supply weapons, equipment and ammunition to counter the Russian Armed Forces as they relentlessly bombard towns and cities in the east of Ukraine, including Sieverodonetsk. Ukraine should not be pressured into ceding territory; instead, we must act to strengthen its hand. Last week my Prime Minister announced an offer of military expertise-building that will enable Ukraine to continue to defend itself – throughout its internationally recognised territory – until Putin has been categorically disabused of his imperial delusions.
Sadly, the Russian military’s urban warfare tactics, which are reliant on heavy use of artillery, have generated extensive destruction. With every day that passes, evidence grows of the unspeakable savagery of President Putin’s war of choice. This Organisation has played, and will continue to play, a pivotal role in fact-finding efforts, including through the Moscow Mechanism. Credible evidence of systematic rape, torture, abduction and butchery of innocent Ukrainian civilians by Russian Armed Forces is an affront to humanity. The international community has made clear that we will not rest until those responsible for atrocities are brought to justice – however long it takes.
Last Friday, the UK signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ukraine to take forward future co-operation on reconstruction. Next month, the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano will consolidate the international reconstruction effort. In this Council, we have had the privilege of being addressed by some of the courageous local Ukrainian officials who will oversee implementation of these efforts. We will continue to work on new investment into those towns and cities that have been liberated from the Russian government and the Russian military’s campaign of destruction. And together, we will demonstrate to President Putin that his attempts to subjugate Ukraine through unspeakable violence will only lead to it building back stronger and even more resilient. This is what victory in Ukraine will look like.
Mr Chair, each week in this Council, my distinguished colleagues and I speak with one voice in wholehearted support for Ukraine. And each week, my Russian colleague’s statement reinforces his country’s isolation. The UK and the international community remains, and will continue to remain, firmly with Ukraine. Time is not a constraint. Thank you, Mr Chair.