National Statement by Sweden at the UN Security Council Briefing on the Situation in Ukraine
National Statement by Ambassador Per Thöresson, Sweden, at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on the Situation in Ukraine, Thursday, 02 February 2017, New York.
Thank you Mr President,
Let me start by thanking Under Secretary-General Feltman, Ambassador Apakan and Under Secretary-General O'Brien for their useful briefings.
As today's briefings have reminded us, the conflict in the Donbass has now been ongoing for almost three years. Each day that it continues to simmer without a solution results in more deaths and injuries as well as fear and uncertainty for civilians.
The humanitarian fallout of the current deterioration in the region is particularly alarming. Access to basic needs, including water, electricity and heating, has been interrupted. 16,000 people are acutely affected, with reports of 2000 children in need of assistance in Avdjivka. We call on all parties to ensure that civilians are protected in line with international humanitarian law. Humanitarian actors must have access to the entirety of the Ukrainian territory, including those zones outside of the control of the Ukrainian government.
The recent escalation in violence is a clear breach of the first point of the Minsk agreements, which calls for an immediate and full ceasefire. A cessation of hostilities is essential for security, which, in turn, is a basic prerequisite for finding a sustainable political solution to the conflict.
We fully support the efforts of the OSCE in this regard and also the difficult work of its Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine. Safe, full and unhindered access for its monitors must be guaranteed.
As a small country committed to a rules-based international order, Sweden relies upon strict adherence to the principles enshrined in the UN Charter and respect for international law. Violations of these core principles and commitments pose a threat to the European security order and are thus of fundamental concern to all of us.
Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity must be fully respected, as underlined in the Security Council's Press Statement of 31 January. Let us not lose sight of who is the aggressor and who is the victim in this conflict. We underline Russia's particular responsibility in this regard, and stress that Russia has the influence needed to end the violence, should it wish to use it. In this context, we should not forget Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, in clear violation of international law, including the rules and principles of the UN Charter.
Therefore, in line with consistent appeals from the EU, Sweden calls for an immediate and lasting ceasefire. We reiterate our call for the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements. Sanctions against Russia must remain in place until the Minsk Agreements are fully implemented. We commend and support the efforts by France and Germany in the Normandy Format. Finally, we call for the rules and principals of international law, including international humanitarian law, to be fully respected.