The European Union welcomes the convening of this Special Session and thanks the High Commissioner and the speakers for their compelling statements.
We are shocked and appalled by the staggering scale of human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law committed by the Russian forces throughout Ukraine. The disturbing images of the human suffering caused by Russia in places such as Bucha, Borodyanka, Bilohorivka, Kramatorsk and Mariupol are seared into our collective memory.
The high numbers of brutal killings of civilians, the documented cases of repeated rapes, summary executions and enforced disappearances, as well as other incidents of unlawful violence and threats against civilians, and the large-scale targeting of civilian infrastructures show the true face of Russia‘s brutal war.
Those responsible for these atrocities must be brought to justice. The EU supports all measures to ensure accountability for violations and abuses of human rights, violations of international humanitarian law, as well as potential crimes under international law, such as war crimes, in Ukraine, including the investigations launched by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, as well as several countries applying universal jurisdiction, and the work of the Commission of Inquiry established by this Council. We also fully support the important and ongoing work of the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine of the OHCHR.
We strongly condemn Russia’s unprovoked and unlawful aggression against Ukraine. Russia must withdraw its troops immediately, fully and unconditionally from the entire territory of Ukraine, within its internationally recognized borders. We call on Russia to fully comply with its obligations under international law, including international human rights law and international humanitarian law. We also demand immediate establishment of humanitarian corridors for safe and voluntary evacuation of civilians in the direction they wish, especially from Mariupol, where another tragedy is unfolding. There and elsewhere, the tragedy inflicted by Russia must end.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is also having a ripple effect of serious consequences beyond Ukraine. This war risks sparking a global food and energy crisis, since Ukrainian farmers are prevented from harvesting and cultivating their land and Russia is blocking several hundreds of ships with tonnes of grain from leaving Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea.
Russia falsely tries to blame sanctions for the situation. However, the EU sanctions do not target food products. Rather, they include exceptions to facilitate continued trade in critical food and agricultural products. We have to be clear that it is Russia’s war of choice that causes the spike in food prices, pushing people into poverty and threatening to destabilize the entire regions.
Meanwhile, the EU is scaling up our multilateral action to provide support to countries with acute food insecurity and are committed to keeping global trade routes open so agricultural staples can feed the world. Overall, the EU has pledged 2.5 billion Euros for international cooperation related to nutrition for the period 2021-2024.
We have said it before and we are saying it again. There is clearly one aggressor in this war. It is Russia. Not NATO, not Europe, not Ukraine. Therefore, we call upon the international community to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and with all those affected by the Russian aggression.