At the UN, Global Leaders Speak Out on Russia’s Aggression Against Ukraine

Office of Press and Public Diplomacy
For Immediate Release
February 23, 2022

At the UN, Global Leaders Speak Out on Russia’s Aggression Against Ukraine 

Today, as the United Nations General Assembly convened for an annual meeting on Ukraine, leaders from around the world joined together to speak out against Russia’s unprovoked aggression toward Ukraine and to stand up for the UN Charter. Below are excerpts of speeches in the UN General Assembly from leaders spanning the globe:

U.S. Representative to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield: “Together, with our partners and allies, President Biden has taken decisive actions to make the costs of Russia’s actions crystal clear. But as much as we all want Russia to de-escalate, and choose the path of peace, that is not our decision to make. This is President Putin’s war of choice. If he chooses to escalate further, Russia and Russia alone will bear full responsibility for what is to come. What we can do together is make clear that Russia will pay an even steeper price if it continues its aggression. That responsible countries do not bully their neighbors into submission. That former empires cannot lay claim to sovereign and independent nations. The very first line of the UN Charter states that we are uniting together, ‘determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.’ This, right here, right now, is a moment when we can save this generation, and the next, from that terrible fate.”

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres: “The Minsk agreements – approved by the Security Council and that I strongly supported from the beginning – were surviving in an intensive care unit thanks to a number of life support devices. But now those devices have been disconnected. We must also be concerned about preserving the integrity of peacekeeping. The United Nations has a long and recognized experience deploying peacekeeping operations – which only take place with the consent of the host country. It is time for restraint, reason and de-escalation. There is no place for actions and statements that would take this dangerous situation over the abyss.”

Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba: “No one will be able to sit out this crisis if President Putin decides that he can move forward with this aggression against Ukraine. Your governments and your people will face painful consequences together with our government and our people. This is why we need to use this last chance for action and stop Russia where it is. It is clear that President Putin will not stop by himself. The beginning of large-scale war in Ukraine will be end of world order as we know it. If Russia does not get a severe, swift, and decisive response now, this will mean a total bankruptcy of the international security system and international institutions which are tasked with maintaining the global security order. This is a grim scenario which will throw us back to the darkest times of the 20th Century.” 

Albania Permanent Representative to the UN Ferit Hoxha: “Today we find ourselves before a choice: either we defend our shared principles; stand by the UN Charter which is our International Constitution; respect International Law which governs a rules-based world order of a community of nations; or yield to aggression, international bullying and the rule according to which ‘what is yours is mine.’ We should stand firm now, not to have to regret what may further happen tomorrow. The General Assembly has continuously condemned, in clear and unequivocal terms, the annexation of Crimea. It should condemn this new form of aggression by proliferation of phantom republics, which redraw international borders at one person’s will. …Albania strongly condemns Russia’s decision to recognize non-government-controlled areas of Ukraine as independent entities as well as any attempts, ideas, or hints to export it elsewhere in Russia’s vicinity, in Europe or beyond. It should ring the alarm bell to every UN Member State, and we call on the General Assembly to reject and condemn it firmly.”  

Australia Permanent Representative to the UN Mitch Fifield: “We remind Russia of its obligations under the UN Charter. We call upon Russia to uphold core Charter principles, including to refrain from threatening or using force against another State. Australia welcomes the significant efforts undertaken by our close partners, including the United States, the European Union, and NATO in urging Russia to find a diplomatic solution.” 

Bulgarian Permanent Representative to the UN Lachezara Stoeva: “Non-compliance with the UN Charter should be of concern to all of us. ‘We’re too far to get involved’ is not a valid argument, as it is our common responsibility to uphold the UN Charter in its entirety…Therefore, it is our duty to join efforts and reject this illegal action by the Kremlin…I would like to commend Ukraine for its resilience and to once again call for de-escalation, dialogue, and diplomacy for overcoming the current security crisis. Ukraine, you’re not alone.”

Canada Permanent Representative to the UN Robert Rae: “There are no second-class states in this organization. There’s no ‘back-of-the-bus’ in the United Nations. There’s no nation that’s less integral, or less sovereign, than any other nation, and no nation has the right to undermine the integrity of any other nation…That’s what the sovereign equality means…In recent years Russia has continued to destabilize Ukraine and regional security, and that is why Canada firmly condemns supporting Russia and the formation of weapons in Donbas…We condemn the recognition by Russia of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, and its decision to move troops into Ukraine under what they call ‘peacekeeping,’ but anyone else who understands the meaning of language would call ‘war marking.’ They’re not peacekeepers. They are soldiers who are there to invade.”

Chile Permanent Representative to the UN Milenko Skoknic Tapia: “Whatever the concerns are about what can be considered a danger to the security of a state, nothing can justify a violation of the principles of Article 2 of the Charter of the United Nations. These concerns must be dealt with through dialogue and negotiation between the various stakeholders.” 

China Permanent Representative to the UN Zhang Jun: “China has been paying attention to the evolving situation in Ukraine. China’s position on safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states has been consistent. The purposes and principles of the UN charter should be jointly upheld…We welcome and encourage all efforts aimed at facilitating a diplomatic solution.”

Czech Republic Permanent Representative to the UN Jakub Kulhanek: “I can think of no more fitting setting than the UN General Assembly in which to reiterate, loud and clear, that the UN Charter prohibits the threat or use of force against territorial integrity and political independence of any state. This is a fundamental principle of international law that all states must abide by, and we should all strive to uphold. Moreover, we fully subscribe to stern words of the Secretary-General’s warning against the perversion of the concept of peacekeeping, as well as his clear warning and that the UN Charter principles are not an à la carte menu…The situation needs to stay high on the UN agenda and deserves the full attention of the UN Security Council, the General Assembly, and the Human Rights Council and other relevant bodies.”

European Union Permanent Representative to the UN Olof Skoog: “Russia’s past and present actions against Ukraine are not a matter just for Ukraine or for Europe. They have severe global implications. Violations of the fundamental principles of international law, the UN Charter and basic principles of international relations directed towards another state is of serious global concern. These rules apply to all. And permanent members of the Security Council have particular responsibility in upholding the Charter…What is happening in Ukraine affects the security of each and every UN Member State. We therefore call on Russia to respect the principles of the Charter, to de-escalate, and to engage in the kind of meaningful diplomacy that we have offered, and that the Secretary-General has reiterated and supported.”

France Permanent Representative to the UN Nicolas De Riviere: “France firmly condemns the unilateral recognition by Russia of the independence of the separatist regions of the east of Ukraine. France also condemns the decision to deploy the Russian army in these territories. This is a violation of international law; it is a violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and it is incompatible with the United Nations Charter, as the Secretary-General declared. This is a unilateral renunciation by Russia of the Minsk Agreements, that it nonetheless signed, and which are endorsed by Resolution 2202 of the Security Council. This is also a clear violation of the fundamental principles of the OSCE, enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act and the Paris Charter, which are the basis for stability in Europe. It is, finally, a questioning of the commitments taken by President Putin over the last few days.”

Georgia Permanent Representative to the UN Kaha Imnadze: “It is deeply alarming that the international norms and principles that we all committed to uphold are repeatedly violated by the Russian Federation, a permanent member of the Security Council whose primary responsibility is to do the exact opposite – act as the guardian of peace and security. Unfortunately, breaching the international law and undermining international rules-based order has long been a marking of Russia’s aggressive policy toward its neighboring states aimed at forcefully redrawing their borders and trying to curb their sovereign choices. My country, Georgia, is no exception here.”

Germany Minister of State Tobias Lindner: “Do we respect the territorial integrity and sovereign equality of UN Member States? Do we stand by the UN Charter? I call on all UN Member States to reaffirm our commitment to these principles – over Ukraine and beyond. With our allies and partners, Germany will spare no effort to find a diplomatic way forward. We will be steadfast in our support for Ukraine, in support of the UN Charter. It is our common duty to remain committed to a rules-based order, to trustful co-operation, to bringing forward our common goal of lasting peace and stability. We invite every member of this organization to join these efforts. Now is the moment to speak up and defend the international order of the UN Charter against unilateral aggression – jointly and decisively.”

Ireland Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Jim Kelly: “Ireland’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, and its right to choose its own foreign and security policy path, is unwavering. The decision on Monday by the Russian Federation to proceed with the recognition as independent entities of the non-government-controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine contravenes international law. It is a blatant violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and marks a clear and unilateral breach of the Minsk Agreements. We urge the Russian Federation to reverse this recognition decision immediately and to refrain from further escalatory, unilateral actions which serve only to raise further tensions. The world is watching, and what is needed now is calm de-escalation and the pursuit of diplomacy.”

Japan Permanent Representative to the UN Ishikane Kimihiro: “What is happening in and around Ukraine is not an isolated problem in Europe, but a problem for the entire international community and a challenge to the international order. It goes totally against the purposes and the principles of the UN Charter…Prime Minister Kishida, acting in lockstep with the international community, has announced sanction measures, including the suspension of the issuance of entry visas and asset freezes to individuals concerned…Japan expresses its solidarity with the people of Ukraine…and supports the efforts of all countries for a serious diplomatic solution to the present crisis…No Member State can afford to be a bystander.”

Kenya Deputy Permanent Representative Njambi Kinyungu: “The imperative to respect and uphold the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence of all states no matter their size, population, wealth, or military might is what stands between a peaceful global order and escalating, widening crisis. As such, Kenya registers its strong concern and opposition to the recognition by the Russian Federation of Dontesk and Luhansk as independent states. We call on de-escalation to ensure that there are no military confrontations and for a return to diplomatic negotiation whose result respects the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.”

Liberia Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Cecilia Forgbe Wreh-McGill: “Liberia calls on Russia not to attack Ukraine. We further urge Russia to use diplomacy and dialogue to resolve its stated security concerns, and to reverse Russia’s military buildup along the borders of Ukraine and in occupied Crimea. Liberia hereby reaffirms its commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity since Ukraine currently poses no threat to Russia. In this 21st Century when our world body, the United Nations, is promoting peace and security, war is certainly not the answer.”

Lithuania Permanent Representative to the UN Rytis Paulauskas (on behalf of eight Baltic and Nordic Countries): “We strongly condemn the decision by President Putin to recognize the non-government-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine as independent entities and the ensuing decision to send Russian troops into these areas under the pretext of so-called ‘peacekeeping’…We underline that Russian forces in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine would be nothing else but an invasion of a sovereign state. Calling them peacekeepers, to quote the Secretary-General, ‘is the perversion of the concept of peacekeeping.’”  

Marshall Islands Permanent Representative to the UN Amatlain Elizabeth Kabua: “The Republic of the Marshall Islands joins the overwhelming chorus of voices today. We have condemned the intentions of the Russian Federation to invade Ukraine, to violate its sovereignty, and to disrupt fragile efforts at diplomacy. These Russian military forces amassed at Ukraine’s borders are not peacekeepers in any sense of the word. And no other nation recognizes these Ukraine areas as some other sovereign. That is a complete farce used to justify an invasion…Through Crimea and now Donbas and Luhansk region, Ukraine is being dismantled piece by piece by threat and by the use of force. This has got to stop…If we do not speak up collectively, then who will?…Speaking out against forceful threats is inconvenient, but it is very much necessary at this very dangerous time. In the long term, what will silence win any of us?…Today, we seem to be near the edge of the very type of international conflict which our predecessors swore would never again arise when they forged the UN Charter. As an institution, the United Nations risks irrelevance if we cannot take clear and meaningful action on this issue.”

Moldova Permanent Representative to the UN Gheorghe Leucă: “In a region fraught with insecurity and instability, where norms of behavior are falling like dominoes, states must follow a set of fundamental rules which regulate relations between them and underpin a regional order. Today, it is more important than ever to reaffirm the principles of international law, order, justice, and peaceful resolution of disputes. We cannot allow historical revisionist policies, undisguised use of force, and disregard for human rights to become the new normal.”

Republic of Korea Permanent Representative to the UN Cho Hyun: “We condemn any act that seriously undermines the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of any state. In this regard, we are seriously concerned with Russia’s decision to recognize the independence of certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. This undermines the fundamental principle of international norm, including the UN Charter. Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity should be respected. We urge Russia to de-escalate the tensions and reverse its military buildup in the region. The Republic of Korea reaffirms its unwavering support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

Turkey Permanent Representative to the UN Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu: “It has been eight years since the occupation of Crimea. Since the first day, the entire international community has maintained a resolute position. We never recognized the illegal annexation. And we have always supported Ukraine’s independence, territorial integrity, sovereignty, and political unity within its internationally recognized borders. This is our legal and moral obligation…We do not need, nor do we want, a new war in our region.”

United Kingdom Minister of State Tariq Ahmad: “As the Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has made clear, Russia’s unilateral measures conflict directly with the principles of the UN Charter. Their actions are a fundamental challenge to global peace and security, and a challenge to the international order on which we all rely – and equally important, it is for all of us to protect. We must condemn unequivocally this aggression together and stop President Putin’s expansionist ambitions. We must hold Russia to its commitments under the UN Charter, and say to Russia pull back – choose peace, not war – whilst also sending a clear message to the people of Ukraine that in your hour of need, we the international community, we the United Nations, stand with you.”