Peace in Ukraine must be just and lasting: UK statement to the OSCE

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Peace in Ukraine must be just and lasting: UK statement to the OSCE

Ambassador Neil Holland says that Ukraine must be able to secure peace on their own terms. Russian aggression cannot be rewarded.

25 May 2023

Thank you, Mr Chair. Today, I would like to talk about peace. We hear many calls for a stop to the fighting in Ukraine in the name of peace. Some of these are well-meaning. But some draw a false equivalence between Ukraine's struggle to defend itself and its territory, and Russia's unprovoked, unjustified and illegal invasion of Ukraine.

Russia's war in Ukraine is expansionist, but for Ukraine, it is existential. Russia invaded a fellow participating State of the OSCE. Russia's actions contravene the Helsinki Final Act and trample on the foundational commitments of this organisation. Ukraine is not only defending its right to exist as a sovereign and democratic State; in doing so Ukraine is defending the right of all peoples to live in freedom and peace, without fear of aggression.

The way to peace and an end to the terrible impacts of Russia's invasion begins with the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine. However, Russia has continually shown that it has no genuine interest in peace. A country interested in peace does not bomb warehouses of humanitarian aid. A country interested in peace does not play havoc with the world's food supply. And a country interested in peace does not put civil nuclear facilities at risk.

The path to a just and lasting peace is one rooted in the UN Charter and OSCE principles. These are principles that all of us, including Russia, have committed to uphold. Ukraine has been clear that it seeks a diplomatic end to the war, as set out in President Zelenskyy's peace formula. But a truly sustainable and just peace for Ukraine must provide for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. It must ensure that those responsible for atrocities are held to account. And it must restore stability and security to Europe and the wider OSCE region.

We will continue to support Ukraine to secure peace, but it must be a just and lasting peace. We will also ensure that Russia is not rewarded for its aggression, and that others are not emboldened to do the same. As my Prime Minister said ahead of last week's G7 Summit, "for the sake of global peace and security, we must show that brutal violence and coercion does not reap rewards". The G7 Summit demonstrated that our international partners share our resolve; a new range of sanctions and economic measures will constrain Russia's war machine further. G7 Leaders said: "Our support for Ukraine will not waver. We will not tire in our commitment to mitigate the impact of Russia's illegal actions on the rest of the world".

Mr Chair, through this support, we will ensure that Ukraine can secure peace on their own terms, and have the freedom to choose their own future. As G7 Leaders pledged in Hiroshima, "together with Ukraine, [we will] make every effort to bring a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine as soon as possible."

Thank you, Mr Chair.

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