OAS Expresses Solidarity with Ukraine

Ambassador Mora meets with Oksana Markarova, Ukraine's Ambassador to the United States. (February 22, 2023)

Remarks by
Ambassador Francisco O. Mora
OAS Permanent Council
February 22, 2023

Last year, President Biden said: “An overwhelming majority of nations recognize that Putin is not only attacking Ukraine, he is attacking the very foundations of global peace and security and everything the United Nations stands for.”  And as we know in this Permanent Council room, everything that the Organization of American States stands for as well.

Almost a year after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia remains the sole obstacle to peace in Ukraine.  Russia’s savage attacks against the people of Ukraine are the latest demonstration that President Putin currently has no interest in meaningful diplomacy.  Short of erasing Ukraine’s independence, Putin will try to force Ukraine into a frozen conflict, lock in his gains, rest and refit his forces, and then, at some point, attack again.  Russia and Russia alone can end this war today.

Russia continues wreaking death and destruction; targeting civilian infrastructure; destroying agricultural infrastructure and threatening livelihoods, freezing and starving Ukraine’s civilians; forcing them from their homes; driving up energy, food, and other household costs, not only across Europe but around the world, even in this hemisphere.

OAS member states have long been advocates for human rights and international law.  We cannot be silent in the face of this continued horror and destruction, nor can we be associated with Russia’s actions that are contrary to our collective values and principles.

This body moved in a deliberative manner to voice its rejection and condemnation of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified further invasion of Ukraine.

On February 25, 2022, at the OAS Permanent Council meeting, 25 OAS member states issued the Joint Declaration, “The Situation in Ukraine,” condemning Russia’s unlawful, unjustified, and unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and calling for the immediate withdrawal of Russia’s military presence and the cessation of any further military actions in Ukraine.

On March 24, 2022, this Permanent Council passed the resolution, “The Crisis in Ukraine,” declaring the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Ukraine deeply distressing and wholly unacceptable, demanding respect for human rights, and calling for an immediate end to acts that could constitute war crimes. The resolution further resolved to review, as necessary, the adherence of Russia to its commitment to the OAS as a Permanent Observer.

Last year, on April 21, this Permanent Council revoked Russia’s OAS Permanent Observer Status.  Furthermore, this Permanent Council sent a clear message to the Russian government that its actions violate international law, including international humanitarian law, and are completely contrary to the values of OAS member states and of this institution.

Our principled action to suspend Russia from the OAS was an important and significant action to ensure respect and support for human rights and international humanitarian law and to uphold the Charters of the UN and the OAS.

Today, almost a year after Russia launched its illegal, unprovoked, full-scale invasion against Ukraine, we reiterate our OAS call on Russia to end the hostilities, withdraw its forces, and abide by international law.

Today, we also call on all OAS member states to continue to press Russia to cease its aggression and to support the adoption of the United Nations General Assembly resolution calling for a just and comprehensive peace consistent with the UN Charter at the Eleventh Emergency Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly that will begin today.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.