Bradley A. Freden
Interim U.S. Permanent Representative
February 25, 2022
Chairman, thank you for coordinating this vital session of the Permanent Council as the situation in Ukraine rapidly evolves.
To start, it is no accident that I am wearing blue and yellow today. These are the colors of the Ukrainian flag, and our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Ukraine as they face off against Russia’s illegal, unprovoked, and completely unjustified attack.
As President Biden said: “President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering. Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring.”
We – as a democratic Hemisphere – must stand united against Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and we must continue to condemn it in the strongest possible terms. Russia’s action are a violation of international law and of the global norms that we – as an international community – have all pledged to respect.
Let us be clear – as we witness a large-scale land war in Europe for the first time since WWII – Russia is the sole aggressor in this crisis. After months of a relentless military buildup on Ukraine’s borders and hybrid warfare to destabilize Ukraine from within, Russia followed exactly the script we expected.
Putin’s illegal recognition of the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic and the Donetsk People’s Republic represented a farcical pretext for naked aggression, the likes of which have not been seen in Europe for some 70 years.
Let us not mince words: Vladimir Putin is a revanchist dictator bent on conquest. His goal is nothing less than the recreation the Soviet Russian empire.
We have a message for Mr. Putin: this is not 1822 or 1922. The Age of Imperialism is long gone. Ukraine is a free, sovereign, and independent state, and the Ukrainian nation will continue to exist regardless of Putin’s efforts to crush it.
The consequences of Russia’s aggression will be felt for years to come. Ukrainians will fight for their country, just as you and I would fight for our own, regardless of the odds. Ukraine will not give up its sovereignty without a fight, nor should it.
Regardless of who eventually comes out on top, there will be death and destruction on a massive scale. Russia, and Russia alone, must be held responsible for this tragedy.
Ukraine’s neighbors will face a humanitarian emergency as refugees pour across their borders. International peace and security are in jeopardy, and the global economy weakened. The implications of Russia’s decision to launch a war of conquest against its peaceful neighbor will reverberate globally, affecting us all, including those in our Hemisphere, for years to come.
We urge all countries in the Hemisphere to join us in strongly and publicly condemning Russia’s aggression and affirming our support for Ukraine. We ask that you call on Russia through every possible channel to cease its hostilities.
We must remain united in our message to Russia: the territory of a sovereign state cannot be seized by force of arms. Borders cannot be redrawn at gunpoint. Russia’s military aggression is illegal and unacceptable to the civilized world.
We call on all democratic countries to press Russia to halt its military operations in Ukraine immediately, return its troops and equipment to Russia, and cease all further aggression against Ukraine, including its ongoing cyber attacks.
We look forward to working with other OAS member states to uphold the values of the international system and support a return to the status que ante
THE SITUATION IN UKRAINE
THE PERMANENT MISSIONS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA, BARBADOS, BELIZE, CANADA, CHILE, COLOMBIA, COSTA RICA, THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, GRENADA, GUATEMALA, GUYANA, HAITI, JAMAICA, MEXICO, PANAMA, PARAGUAY, PERU, SURINAME, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, THE BAHAMAS, THE UNITED STATES AND VENEZUELA TO THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES,
- COMMITTED to the Charter of the Organization of American States, which was established to achieve an order of peace and justice, promote solidarity, strengthen collaboration, and defend sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence of States
- REAFFIRMING that international law is the rule of conduct of states in their mutual relations, that the international order consists essentially of respect for the personality, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence of states and the faithful fulfillment of the obligations derived from treaties and other sources of international law, and that good faith must govern the relations of states with each other;
- ALSO REAFFIRMING the shared values and common approaches contained in the Declaration on Security in the Americas (2003), and that peace is a value and a principle in itself and is based on democracy, justice, respect for human rights, solidarity, security, and respect for international law, inter alia.
- EMPHASIZING that the security of the Hemisphere is affected by threats to global peace and security and that a stable and secure Hemisphere constitutes an essential component of world peace and security;
- REITERATING that the Hemisphere’s states have an important role to play in promoting international peace and stability, especially through respect for international law and support for bilateral, regional, and multilateral regimes (…) as well as other agreements, and for negotiations, mechanisms, activities, and security processes within the framework of the United Nations;
- RECALLING the List of Confidence- and Security-Building Measures (CSBMs) approved by the Committee on Hemispheric Security on March 12, 2020, to exchange and share experiences and ideas on transparency and CSBMs with other regional and subregional security forums, including the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE);
- TAKING NOTE of the declarations of the Secretary-General of the United Nations calling for a peaceful solution to the conflict in Ukraine and that the solution be reached in accordance with the Minsk Agreements endorsed by the United Nations Security Council in resolution 2202 of 2015;
- RECALLING resolution CP/RES. 577 (896/92) of April 1, 1992, through which the Permanent Council granted the Government of the Russian Federation the status of Permanent Observer to the Organization; resolution CP/RES. 629 (987/94) of May 9, 1994, through which the Permanent Council granted the Government of Ukraine the status of Permanent Observer to the Organization; and resolution CP/RES. 52 (61/72), which established that the purpose of Permanent Observers to the OAS is to promote cooperative relations among states from both the Americas and elsewhere that participate in the Organization’s programs;
- GREATLY ALARMED at the Russian Federation’s unlawful, unjustified, and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, its continued violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by military attacks on several of its cities, and its earlier unlawful decision to recognize the independence of certain areas of Ukraine; and
- RECOGNIZING with concern that the act of aggression by the Russian Federation may cause more death, destruction, and displacement.
THE DECLARATING STATES
- Strongly condemn the unlawful, unjustified, and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation and call for the immediate withdrawal of the military presence and the cessation of any further military actions in that country.
- Make a strong call to the Russian Federation to immediately cease its hostilities, de-escalate, withdraw all its forces and equipment from Ukraine, and return to a path of dialogue and diplomacy to settle controversies.
- Condemn the illegal recognition by the Russian Federation of the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk represents a violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.
- Condemn the Russian Federation’s military operation in Ukraine is counter to the principles of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the prohibition on the threat or use of force, and the peaceful resolution of disputes, which are enshrined in international law and in the Charter of the United Nations.
- Reiterate the importance of the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter and of respect for the sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
- Make a call to the parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular with regard to the protection of the civilian population and those who do not participate in the hostilities.
- Its expectation that all parties will honor and respect the human rights of the population, and will take constant care to safeguard the population, civilians, and civilian property in Ukraine in accordance with international humanitarian law.