Nordic statement at the GA: “We stand with Ukraine”

Martin Bille Hermann, Martin Bille Hermann, Permanent Representative of Denmark with UN Secretary General António Guterres.

The Five Nordic countries and the three Baltic states have declared strong support for the Ukraine in an emergency session of the General Assembly.

Danish Permanent Representative Martin Bille Hermann, speaking on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic Eight, said the Russian Federation counted on the world to remain silent, but “we are acting, and on this day — and until peace prevails and every Ukrainian can safely return to their homes — we stand with Ukraine.”

Dozens of delegates from among the Assembly’s 193 Member States took part in the historic session, which is just the eleventh such meeting in the United Nations 77-year history.  Many speakers warned that, amid the first full-scale international aggression in Europe since the end of the Second World War, the very future of the rules-based world order now hangs in the balance.

The special session was mandated by a 27 February vote in the Security Council, following its failure to adopt a resolution condemning the Russian Federation’s recent actions in Ukraine.

Long-term consequences

Ambassador Hermann said that if unanswered, the Russian aggression against Ukraine will have global and long-term negative consequences, challenging the rules-based international order, he said, adding that:  “We will continue to look at every single instrument in our toolbox”.

Sanctions have been enacted to cripple President Putin’s ability to finance his war machine, with the role of the Lukashenko regime in Belarus in enabling the attack also demanding a firm response.  The Nordic-Baltic countries have been delivering financial, humanitarian and military assistance to the people of Ukraine, and every nation must look at how to further their support.  Calling on the Russian Federation to stop this senseless war, he demanded an immediate ceasefire, urging Moscow to withdraw all its forces from Ukraine and return genuinely to the path of dialogue and negotiation.  Every civilian death and every war crime will be recorded and perpetrators will be held accountable and brought to justice, he said, noting Ukraine’s request to the International Court of Justice and adding:  “History has its eyes on us; every legal avenue available will be used to hold the aggressor to account.”

Russia´s shameful use of veto

The matter is now in the hands of the General Assembly, he said, where one veto cannot overrule the United Nations membership and where the power and legitimacy are manifested in numbers.  The Russian Federation’s shameful use of the veto in the Security Council on 25 February on a matter it bears full responsibility for is completely unacceptable, and its status as a permanent Council member gives it a special responsibility of maintaining peace and security, not to violate Charter principles.  The latest Council meetings showed the need for reform and demonstrated who had the firmness and valour to defend the United Nations Charter.  The General Assembly has the power to send a firm message to President Putin, he said, emphasizing that:  “What we say today and how we vote on the resolution presented will make a difference on the ground in Ukraine and to the Ukrainian people; they will be watching us.”  The Russian Federation’s unlawful and brutal armed attack on Ukraine will affect and impact everyone.  “If we do not join our forces to turn back this tide today, we will be even less equipped to deal with similar crimes in the future — wherever, on whichever continent they occur”, he said, adding that the world will hold accountable the Russian Federation, as the main aggressor, and Belarus, as the enabler.