Thank you Mr Chair. Ambassador Villadsen, dear Henrik, we are grateful to you for briefing the Permanent Council and for your final report on the work of the Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine (PCU).
I want to begin by expressing my appreciation for the work and achievements of the PCU in the over two decades that it has operated in Ukraine. The UK acknowledges the historic role of the PCU in helping Ukraine meet its OSCE commitments. The PCU’s strong relationship with its host has allowed it to contribute meaningfully to Ukraine’s resilience and development. This includes in the areas of rule of law, environment, assisting conflict-affected populations, reform, good governance and gender equality – to name but a few. These are all foundational elements of security, and the PCU’s wide-ranging approach to state resilience embodies OSCE principles.
The support of Ukraine and your team’s light-footedness have enabled you to maintain relevance despite dramatically changed circumstances. The PCU was undaunted by the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, and continued to deliver excellent value for money. Your last report included the period since 24 February which, as this Council is well aware, has witnessed large-scale and truly appalling events following Russia’s invasion. Once again, you and your team stepped up. Your work in the conflict space has been invaluable. To name just a couple of achievements from the most recent reporting period: the PCU’s work with local authorities and social services on psycho-social rehabilitation of veterans, and launch of mechanisms to help victims of human trafficking, are examples of how the PCU continues to make an impact on conflict-related issues.
It is therefore with deep regret that we recall Russia’s stated refusal to support the renewal of the PCU’s mandate on 30 June. Mr Chair, this is part of a troubling pattern. Russia blocked the Border Observation Mission; it blocked the Special Monitoring Mission and now it has announced its blocking of the mandate of the OSCE’s long-standing PCU. This unilateral and destructive behaviour undermines the principles and institutions of the OSCE. It also underscores Russia’s isolation in the international community.
Finally, I would like to pass on the UK’s immense gratitude to you, Henrik, your team and everyone who has previously worked for the Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine. We are grateful to the PCU for its professionalism and hard work in these most challenging of circumstances. We wish you success in your future endeavours. Thank you, Mr Chair.