Swedish statement at the UN Security Council Briefing on the situation in Ukraine
National statement delivered by Ambassador Irina Schoulgin Nyoni on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on the situation in Ukraine, 26 November 2018, New York.
Thank you, Mr. President,
Sweden is deeply concerned about the escalation in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait. Blocking maritime traffic to and from Ukrainian ports, using military force, is a serious violation of international law.
This violation comes against the backdrop of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol in 2014 and the finalization of the bridge across the Kerch Strait earlier this year, both blatant violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
We fully support the Ukrainian request for a Council meeting in light of the latest developments. Any other country would have done the same and would have expected the issue to be handled as the threat to international peace and security that it constitutes.
Russia’s unwarranted and disproportionate checks of ships passing through the strait has been ongoing for months already. We regret that Russia has ignored the calls from Ukraine and the international community to abide by international law and allow free passage through the Kerch Strait and instead has opted to escalate the situation further. In a situation which is already tense, this behaviour is deeply irresponsible.
As a first step the naval vessels and crewmembers which have been detained should be immediately and unconditionally released. This would be an important step towards de-escalation.
We urge Russia to act in accordance with international law. Let me underline: there can be no doubt that Russia has all international legal obligations to refrain from blocking the access to Ukrainian ports in the Azov Sea and elsewhere as well as to respect OSCE principles and commitments. We call on Russia to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and its navigational rights.
I thank you.