Remarks by the delegation of Ukraine at the Roundtable for Lasting Peace and Security - 10 years since 2008 Russia-Georgia War

Remarks by the delegation of Ukraine at the Roundtable for Lasting Peace and Security - 10 years since 2008 Russia-Georgia War

I would like to thank Permanent Mission of Georgia for organizing this timely roundtable.

As we mark the tenth anniversary of Russian aggression against Georgia, Ukraine reiterates its full and unconditional support of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in its internationally recognized borders, as well as its de-occupation efforts.

It was true back in 2008, when on 12 August President of Ukraine, along with leaders of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, addressed Georgians in Tbilisi in an outstanding show of solidarity.

It is true today, when as we speak high-level Ukrainian delegation participates in commemorative and other events in Georgia. My Ministry also issued a dedicated statement on this sad anniversary.

I’m personally heartened that it was also very true during Ukraine’s UNSC membership in the last 2 years, particularly when we twice called for Council’s consultations (on so-called integration treaties between Russia and occupation regimes), as well as convened a ministerial-level open debate on “Conflicts in Europe“during our SC Presidency last February.

Mr. Chair,

As we see, despite all these efforts Russia still continues its illegal occupation of the Georgian Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region, undermining international law and the rules-based international system. By doing so it clearly disregards its international obligations and refuses to fully implement the 12 August Agreement.

As it is rightly stressed in the Concept note, 2008 Russia-Georgia war was a large-scale Russian military invasion and open aggression which flagrantly violated fundamental principles enshrined in the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act.

As we can see now, this invasion, or, even more — impunity of occupying power due to insufficient response of the international community — resulted in further occupation of part of sovereign territory of Georgia. It also inspired Russian regime for next cynical and revanchist criminal acts, including aggression against Ukraine, adventurism in Syria, chemical attack in Salisbury, election intrusion worldwide — just to name a few.

That is why we are sure that should the world resolutely stood behind Georgia 10 years ago, today we would not face mentioned and many other manifestations of Russian neo-imperialism.

Mr. Chair,

The pattern of Russian aggression is pretty similar — be it Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova or other countries. It includes a number of sophisticated hybrid methods including direct military invasions, subversive policies of propaganda, disinformation and social media infiltration, use of mercenaries, terrorism etc. Russia tries to manipulate public opinion, using its state-controlled media outlets to deliberately spread false narratives, plant false news in order to influence international and domestic politics.

What is the best way to address this misconduct or, as it is put in the Concept, “the pattern of aggressive tactics and hybrid warfare”?

Even though there is no silver bullet, what is clear is that the international community should combinediplomatic tools with much stronger targeted sanctions and isolation of Russian political leaders and oligarchs. After all, we all know that it is only the language of strength that Russia understands.

We also think that the UN should be more involved in contributing to the resolution of conflicts in the region. Despite the existence of relevant mechanisms like Geneva International Discussions, Normandy Format or Trilateral Contact Group, the UN Security Council and General Assembly should take a much stronger position on the conflicts and increase their pressure on Russia.

But what is even more crucial is for the international community to be consistent and consolidated in the face of Russia’s occupation and annexation policy. This is the only mean to ensure peaceful conflict resolution and prevention of similar conflicts in the region and around the globe.

Here the first step should be de-occupation of the Georgian and Ukrainian territories, reversal of recognition of the so-called independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and implementation of all other obligations of Russia under existing agreements.

It is also time to remind the Russian Federation loud and clear that as an occupying power, under international law, it has relevant obligations towards the population of Crimea, Donbas, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It is fully responsible for the consequences of its internationally wrongful acts and will pay for the harm caused.

Justice will be served.

Finally, Mr. Chair, thank you to the Georgian Mission again for refreshing our memory on Russia-Georgia war. Events like this are extremely helpful in keeping delegations sensitized and alertas to the ever present danger stemming from the Russian revanchism.