UNGA Emergency Special Session on Ukraine - Statement by Minister Burke
Speech23 February 2023
Statement by Minister of State for European Affairs, Peter Burke, TD,
Check against Delivery
Ireland aligns itself with the statement of the European Union.
We meet today to mark one year since Russia’s full –scale invasion of Ukraine.
A year of horrific death and destruction caused by Russia’s illegal and unjustified war.
Let us be clear: this invasion was unprovoked, and entirely of Russia’s making.
Let me also be clear: Ireland will continue to stand fully with Ukraine and its people in the face of this brutal aggression.
This year and this war have been marked by Russia’s blatant disregard for human life; for the UN Charter; for broader international law, including international humanitarian law.
Russia has ruthlessly targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure, seeking to starve and freeze the people of Ukraine into submission.
Russia’s war has seen the deaths of tens of thousands of Ukrainians, men, women and children. It has forced over thirteen million people to flee their homes in search of safety. Over eight million refugees, mostly women and children, have sought protection across Europe.
Over five million people have been displaced within Ukraine. Millions more have been forcibly deported to Russia, and held in contravention of international law.
Yet, despite all of this, Ukraine remains steadfast in its resistance and the defence of its democratic principles.
This war has also seen a generation of Russian youth sacrificed to President Putin’s imperialist fantasies.
This is a war of choice. Just as Russia chose to start this war, they can choose to end it.
We strongly support the tireless efforts by the UN Secretary General, as well as by Ukraine itself, to bring an end to this conflict, and for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace, based on the principles of the UN Charter.
The effects of Russia’s war are being felt across the world. Russia’s actions have seen the world’s most vulnerable people suffer from increased food and economic insecurity, with the rising cost of energy and commodities.
Ireland and the European Union are responding to the global effects of Russia’s senseless war, including through the EU Solidarity Lanes and the Team Europe response to global food insecurity.
We will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine and the most vulnerable around the world.
We support the Black Sea Grain Initiative which must be continued to allow lifesaving grain to reach those who need it.
This is a war that has seen reckless Russian attacks on nuclear facilities in Ukraine. A year of threats by Russia to use nuclear weapons on those that might come to Ukraine’s aid. It is regrettable and worrying, in this regard, that Russia has now chosen to suspend its participation with the US under the New Start Treaty.
Ireland remains fully committed to the sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders. Those borders have not changed, and Russia’s use of force will not change them.
Ireland calls on the Russian Federation to immediately cease hostilities and unconditionally withdraw from the entire territory of Ukraine.
We call on the Russian Federation to refrain from further threats or the use of force of any kind, including nuclear weapons, against Ukraine or any other Member State, which could have serious implications beyond the region.
Russia’s actions are not just a threat to Ukraine. They are a threat to the entirety of the UN membership. Every State relies on the rules-based international order – for their prosperity, for their independence, for their sovereignty.
If we fail to hold Russia accountable, if we fail to respond to their attack on the UN Charter, we will leave the world a more dangerous place for us all.
The international community, and the General Assembly, has repeatedly made clear its condemnation of this war, including through this Special Session.
As we mark this anniversary, with no end to Russia’s war in sight, a further resolution is being put to the General Assembly, calling for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in line with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations. We call on all Member States to support this resolution.