Statement by the UNIC Co-Chairs Oleksandr KORNIYENKO (Ukraine), First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, and Michal SZCZERBA (Poland), Vice-President of the NATO PA
Eleven months have passed since the start of Russia’s renewed unprovoked, unjustified and brutal war of aggression against Ukraine, intentionally violating international law and threatening the rules-based international order.
As the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) demonstrated most recently at its annual session in Madrid, its members remain united in their unreserved condemnation of Russia’s atrocious actions, in their unwavering solidarity with their colleagues in the Verkhovna Rada, and in their steadfast support for Ukraine for as long as it takes to prevail.
The Ukrainian people have shown exceptional bravery, resilience and resolve, not only to defend their homeland but also our shared democratic values. Russia must understand that the morale of Ukrainians will never break. The Russian regime under President Putin must immediately stop this reckless war and withdraw from the entire Ukrainian sovereign territory. We urge Allies and partners to maintain and increase massive, crippling and sustained sanctions for however long it takes until Russia withdraws all of its troops from all territory within Ukraine’s internationally recognised borders. We look forward to the swift adoption of a 10th package of European Union sanctions on Russia and the inclusion of the Belarusian and Iranian regime in the package.
We support a just and self-determined peace for Ukraine. As UNIC Co-Chairs, we believe a Global Peace Formula Summit should be convened, based on the peace plan presented by Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. We support the idea of excluding Russian Federation from the UN Security Council until Russia fully and credibly complies with the rules of international law.
Russia has perpetrated war crimes, crimes against humanity and, we strongly believe, acts of genocide and killed an appalling number of civilians. The Russian regime terrorises and deprives Ukrainians of their basic human needs and is precipitating energy, inflation, food and refugee crises. We call on Allies and partners to put pressure on the Russian authorities to release all Ukrainian citizens illegally imprisoned and deported to Russian Federation. Moreover, Russia must immediately withdraw all its military units from the territory of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, and the plant must be transferred under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency and Ukrainian personnel.
The NATO PA has unequivocally declared that the Russian state under the current regime is a terrorist one. Russia and its accomplices, notably the Belarusian and Iranian regime, must be held accountable for all their crimes. We welcome the Assembly’s call for the creation of a special international tribunal to prosecute Russia’s crime of aggression. We believe this must include representatives of the highest authorities of Russia responsible for making the decision to invade Ukraine. Russia must also be obliged to make full reparations for damage, loss or injury under international compensation mechanisms.
We are entering a decisive phase of the war. Bilateral as well as NATO assistance to Ukraine remain essential. We welcome the strengthening of the Comprehensive Assistance Package agreed at the NATO Summit in Madrid and strongly urge all NATO Allies to increase their military, financial, humanitarian, training and intelligence support and maintain a firm stance against Russian aggression. We welcome the new Joint Declaration on EU-NATO Cooperation, signed on 10 January 2023, and its strong commitment to sustain support for Ukraine.
We underline the importance of expanding the Black Sea Grain Initiative to other seaports of Ukraine and commend Ukraine's contribution to strengthening global food security, in particular through the successful implementation of the "Grain from Ukraine" humanitarian initiative.
The continued and accelerated provision and sustaining of advanced military systems, notably of air defence and anti-ship systems, artillery, armoured vehicles, including main battle tanks, and as many artillery shells of all calibres as possible, is particularly critical. We welcome the decisions on further supply of weapons announced during a meeting of the Contact Group for the Defence of Ukraine in the Ramstein format on 20 January 2023, and we look forward to more pledges to be announced at the next meeting in February.
Escalatory Russian bombing campaigns on urban centres and critical civilian infrastructure in Ukraine further illustrate the brutality of Russia’s war. We welcome Allies’ pledge to provide more financial aid to repair Ukraine’s electrical grid in the face of a cold winter.
We also fully support the NATO PA’s call for the launch of a vast aid programme to rebuild Ukraine. We welcome the Assembly’s creation of a special fund to assist the Verkhovna Rada and help it strengthen Ukraine’s democracy now and into the future. Despite the war unleashed by Russia, Ukraine continues to consolidate its democracy.
The Assembly will continue its steadfast support for Ukraine on its path towards NATO integration, which the Ukrainian people have chosen and is anchored in Ukraine’s Constitution. We appreciate the reaffirmation of the 2008 Bucharest Summit decision, during the 2022 NATO Summit in Madrid, that Ukraine and Georgia will become members of NATO. We reiterate the Assembly’s call on Allies to agree on the next steps in support of Ukraine’s NATO integration path.
UNIC was created in 1998 to bring greater transparency to the implementation of the NATO Ukraine Charter and to demonstrate parliamentary interest and involvement in cooperation between NATO and Ukraine. It has since become a wider forum where members can discuss any issues of mutual concern. UNIC has played a leading role in the Assembly’s response to Russia’s renewed invasion. Its meetings are open to the members of the Political Committee’s Sub-Committee on NATO Partnerships.