I would like to thank Albania as the Presidency of the Security Council for convening this debate.
One and a half years ago, the Russian Federation - a permanent member of this very Council – started its brutal invasion against Ukraine. Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine threatens the rules-based order and undermines the United Nations Charter.
Latvia condemns in the strongest possible terms Russia’s unprovoked large-scale aggression against Ukraine, enabled by Belarus.
The international community must not allow Russia to get away with this land grab. We cannot afford the international system to backslide to the pre-World War Two era. Russia bears the sole responsibility for the war it started. Russia alone must end it immediately.
Every sovereign country has a right to choose its own foreign policy course. It applies to Ukraine, as well as to any other country. Ukraine has a right to defend itself against foreign aggression. Ukraine fights for its survival, its right to exist.
We must all continue to support Ukraine for as long as necessary.
Latvia supports Ukraine’s peace formula. Only Ukraine can decide when to start peace negotiations. Sustainable peace must be based on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
We are witnessing a clear pattern of Russia’s deliberate steps aimed at causing maximum suffering to Ukraine’s civilian population and targeting Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure. Children are particularly suffering in this war. They are being deported to Russia or Belarus. They are forcefully ‘re-educated’ and militarily trained, turned into Russian citizens, or illegally adopted. These crimes must stop.
Russian leadership and military personnel must be held accountable for each and every international crime committed in and against Ukraine. By ensuring accountability, we will bring justice to the victims and prevent the return of such crimes in the future. Latvia reiterates the need to establish a Special International Tribunal to prosecute the crime of aggression.
Latvia invites more countries to join the Register of Damage created by the Council of Europe. It is an important first practical step towards a future international compensation mechanism.
Russia’s war against Ukraine is causing serious geopolitical, economic, and humanitarian consequences far beyond Europe’s borders. It is Russia’s war against Ukraine that has aggravated the shortage of food supplies, not the sanctions.
Russia considers food as a weapon of war rather than an essential humanitarian good to prevent hunger around the globe. Russia alone is responsible for stopping the Black Sea Grain Initiative. This initiative allowed to export millions of tonnes of foodstuffs to global markets and fed those in need.
It is key to continue international efforts to mitigate the effects of global food insecurity.
In conclusion, I hope the day when Russia ceases its brutal war of aggression comes soon. Our thoughts are with the brave heroes of Ukraine who defend freedom.