The EU wishes to thank the High Commissioner for her update.
The EU is gravely concerned about the catastrophic human rights and humanitarian situation in Mariupol, which Russia besieged for weeks and deliberately shelled, while blocking delivery of humanitarian aid and denying civilians the possibility to leave for safer areas in Ukraine. Estimates of civilian casualties are horrifying. The population is suffering as in the current situation not even the most basic needs are met due to the lack of water, electricity, medicine and functioning sewage system. Civilians are also facing sexual and gender-based violence. We demand Russia to immediately ensure safe and unhindered humanitarian access and delivery of aid and allow the safe and voluntary passage of civilians in the direction they wish, as also indicated by the European Court of Human Rights in March of this year.
Moreover, we are alarmed about the reports of deportations of Ukrainian citizens, including children, from Mariupol to Russia. Individual or mass forcible transfers to another country are prohibited under international humanitarian law, notably the Geneva Conventions, regardless of their motive and with very few, limited exceptions, and can amount to a war crime. We urge Russia to fully respect the rights and the dignity of the prisoners of war and treat them in accordance with the requirements of international humanitarian law.
We also condemn Russia’s attempts to set up illegitimate alternative administrative structures in Mariupol. Such steps are in violation of international law and Ukrainian constitution and they will not be recognised by the EU. The EU is steadfast in its support to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
We reiterate our call on Russia to fully comply with its obligations under international law, including international human rights law and international humanitarian law. We call on Russia to end its war of aggression against Ukraine and to withdraw its troops from Ukraine immediately.
Those responsible for atrocities in Ukraine, including Mariupol, must be held accountable.