OSCE meeting on Russia’s military operation against Ukraine UK Foreign Secretary’s statement

Chairman, colleagues, as I speak, Russia is conducting an unprovoked and premeditated invasion of a sovereign, democratic European country.

The UK and our international partners stand united in condemning this reprehensible attack on Ukraine.

It is an egregious violation of international law, the UN Charter and core principles of the OSCE.

President Putin’s so-called ‘precision strikes’ have already destroyed apartment blocks and killed, wounded, and displaced innocent civilians.

We call on Russia to withdraw its forces completely from Ukrainian territory immediately, and to refrain from further aggression.

Over recent weeks, the Russian government repeatedly denied their hostile intent towards their neighbour. At the same time, they massed troops, launched cyber-attacks, and staged false pretexts and provocations.

When I visited Moscow on the 10th February Foreign Minister Lavrov looked me in the eye and said that Russia had no plans to invade Ukraine.

Last week they claimed they were withdrawing their troops.

Today, the Russian government has shown that they lied to the world.

They were never serious about engaging in diplomacy.

Here at the OSCE they have repeatedly failed to fulfil their commitments, and failed to show up to meetings – and they have hidden away from the dialogue that they pretended to seek.

The OSCE treats all States as equals, with an equal responsibility to implement and to protect our shared commitments. The Kremlin has turned its back on those commitments, with devastating implications for Ukraine and the wider region.

Russia is now a pariah in the eyes of the world.

In contrast, Ukraine has shown dignity, restraint and fortitude. We are absolutely unwavering in our support for Ukraine and its people.

We are urgently convening discussions with our allies and partners to coordinate our collective response. Together we will hold the Russian government to account and meet this illegal action through unity and strength.

We will continue to provide political, economic and military support to Ukraine to help them defend themselves in this fight that they did not choose.

And together with our allies we will continue to squeeze Putin and those around him.

Today we are announcing an unprecedented package of sanctions, imposing increasingly severe costs for Russia’s aggression.

We will significantly degrade their economic and military development.

And we will continue to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank.

Those around President Putin will soon realise – if they don’t already – that his decisions this week were a colossal mistake.

In this critical moment, we must show absolute unity.

We must continue to support the government and people of Ukraine in the face of this assault on their sovereignty and territorial integrity.

And we must continue to stand up for the rule of law and the stability and security of Europe, against those who would tear it apart.

Thank you.

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