Statement at the UNSC Meeting on Ukraine
Statement22 February 2022
Thank you, Mr President, and I also want to thank Under-Secretary-General Di Carlo for her briefing.
We meet tonight at a moment of great danger for the people of Ukraine; for peace and security in Europe; and for the international norms and principles that all of us around this table have a responsibility to defend. It is a moment we had hoped to avoid. A moment that should have been averted by diplomacy and dialogue. We must respond to it by speaking clearly and honestly about this grave situation, and how we can resolve it peacefully.
So let me be clear where we stand: Ireland’s commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders is unwavering.
Ireland believes in and is fully committed to the core principles enshrined in the UN Charter. These include the sovereign equality and territorial integrity of States. Ukraine has the same fundamental right as every other sovereign and independent State to choose its own foreign policy and to ensure the security and defence of its own territory. The commitments we make as members of the UN are binding on every one of us. No exceptions.
Last Thursday during the meeting organized by the Russian Federation on the Minsk Agreements, we heard from Deputy Minister Vershinin that the goal of that meeting was for the Security Council to affirm that there was no alternative to this milestone document.
We believe that the Council did just that. Yet, now, four days later President Putin has decided to recognize, as independent entities, the non-government controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk, and to order troops into those two regions of Ukraine. This is the second time in less than ten years that the Russian Federation has violated Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is a flagrant violation of international law.
In taking this unilateral step, Russia has abandoned the Minsk Agreements and cast into doubt all the diplomatic efforts of past weeks. Ireland commends Ukraine for the restraint it has shown in the face of Russia’s military build-up at its border and the provocation of the recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Ireland, along with our EU partners, supports a clear and unequivocal response to this violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.
The Russian Federation’s unilateral actions serve only to further raise tensions. Ireland once again calls for calm, de-escalation and the pursuit of diplomacy. Even if that call has not yet been heard, it is a call worth making again tonight. We need to see sustained and credible moves on the ground toward de-escalation of this crisis. We urge Russia to reverse the recognition, withdraw its military forces, and return to discussions within the Normandy format.
All signatories of the Minsk Agreements agreed on the need for the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission’s safe and secure access to the entire territory of Ukraine. The mandate of the SMM was agreed by all 57 OSCE participating States.
At this sensitive time, it is imperative that the SMM be given the full access agreed in its mandate.
We commend those who have engaged in dialogue and urge them to redouble their efforts to seek a peaceful resolution to this perilous situation. We owe nothing less to the people of Ukraine
We call on all parties to ensure the protection of civilians as well as refraining from any actions that would escalate the situation.
Ukraine has already endured eight years of bitter conflict with over 14,000 deaths. The people of eastern Ukraine in particular have suffered from years of insecurity, humanitarian crisis and human rights violations and abuses.
This Council and its members have the responsibility to work to resolve this conflict, rather than yield to a grim new chapter, which will inflict further misery on Ukraine and its people. This is the time to show the courage to pull back from the precipice and return to dialogue and diplomacy.
We all need to demonstrate our faith in the value of diplomacy tonight.