VIENNA: Justin Addison (UK delegation to the OSCE) says that Putin has turned his attention to defenceless Ukrainian civilians, as he is losing his illegal war.
Thank you Mr Chair, and my thanks to your fellow panellists, the Deputy Minister and the other speakers for sharing their thoughts today.
This week has borne witness to yet again more brutal tactics employed by the Russian Federation against the people of Ukraine. On Monday, Russia launched a series of further attacks against civilian energy infrastructure targets, reportedly leaving 350,000 Kyiv apartments without electricity and water. President Zelenskyy has outlined that almost one-third of the country’s energy infrastructure has now been damaged or destroyed, and it is reported that approximately 1.5 million households were left without electricity after the Russian missile strikes on 22 October.
Putin is losing his war and is resorting to desperate measures as a result. Ill-equipped, poorly trained, and poorly-led troops are being sent by President Putin to die in a foreign country in a war they either do not believe in or do not understand.
Unable to defeat the courage of the Ukrainian army, Putin has turned his attention to defenceless Ukrainian civilians, destroying the electricity that keeps their lights on, or the heating that keeps them warm. Putin hopes that in doing so he will destroy their spirit. But as we have all seen over the past eight months, the Ukrainian people will not be so easily cowed. The Russian army continues to sink to new depths, but the Ukrainian resolve – and that of its partners – will not be overcome.
Let us be clear. Attacks disproportionately killing civilians, and destroying infrastructure indispensable to the survival of civilians, are prohibited under international humanitarian law and may constitute war crimes. President Putin, and all those who have joined him in this murderous adventurism, will be held to account.
We cannot stand by and contribute to Russian revenues from the sale of oil, gas and coal that fund this war. Reducing global reliance on Russian fossil fuels will accelerate our clean energy transition by bringing on clean energy at scale. Hydrogen and nuclear energy, as well as investment in new technology such as energy storage; low carbon and electric transport; and industrial decarbonisation will lead towards a greener future.
As we approach winter, the unity of the international community and our outrage at Russia’s continued disdain for human life and international law must not and will not fade away. As Ukrainian lights flicker off and temperatures drop, Ukraine is not only defending its right to exist as a sovereign country. Ukraine is defending the right of all peoples of all states to live in freedom, without fear of aggression from external authoritarian, belligerent powers. We stand by Ukraine now. And for as long as it takes.