Statement of MFA of Ukraine on a year since the start of russia’s full-scale military invasion of Ukraine
February 24 marks one year since the beginning of the russian federation’s full-scale military invasion of Ukraine, which turned into the largest conventional war in Europe since the World War II.
The only reason for the unprovoked aggression of the russian federation was the neo-imperial ambitions and expansionism of the russian leadership within the framework of efforts to revive the “russian empire” by seizing the lands of neighboring countries.
The full-scale invasion was a continuation of the crime of aggression that russia has been carrying out against Ukraine since February 2014, temporarily occupying the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the city of Sevastopol, and certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
With its criminal actions, russia grossly violated the UN Charter, the fundamental norms and principles of international law, a number of bilateral and multilateral treaties. For a year now, Ukraine has been defending itself and the entire democratic world from the russian neocolonialism, daily sacrificing the lives of its best sons and daughters for freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.
The kremlin expected that it would take a few days to capture Ukraine, and the Ukrainian people would meet the russian invaders with bread and salt. Unfortunately, several other countries did not believe in Ukraine’s ability to defend itself a year ago either.
Instead, thanks to Ukrainian people’s commitment to the principles of freedom, justice and self-dignity, Ukraine not only withstood and stopped the russian invasion, but also has successfully held it off for many months, carrying out counter-offensives. As a result, about half of the Ukrainian territories occupied by russian troops in 2022 were liberated. Currently, the parts of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhya and Kherson regions, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, which are temporarily occupied by russia, are still waiting for their liberation.
For 365 days of the large-scale war waged against Ukraine, the russian federation as an aggressor state, a terrorist state and a violator of international law brought in Ukraine death and sufferings, using groundless accusations.
The russian regime’s ongoing war of aggression has destroyed the lives of millions of Ukrainians, razing their native homes to the ground and forcing them to seek safety and refuge in other regions of Ukraine and beyond.
Due to constant barbaric rocket and artillery shelling and the destruction of Ukrainian cities and villages, objects of civil, primarily energy and transport, infrastructure, residential and maternity buildings, kindergartens and schools, stadiums and hospitals, theaters and museums, industrial facilities, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have problems with electricity, water and heat supply, while the economy of Ukraine suffered a huge blow, losing more than 30% of its annual GDP. Such actions are a gross violation of international humanitarian law, in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention on the Protection of the Civilian Population in Time of War of 1949.
With the seizure of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the ongoing occupation of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, russia deliberately violated the existing standards of nuclear and radiation safety, putting the world on the brink of a new nuclear disaster
The activities of the russian federation in the temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories, the holding of fictitious referendums on their accession to the russian federation and the attempt to annex them, destruction of Ukrainian culture and language, looting of museum funds, forcible deportation of children, forced passportization are nothing but the genocide of the Ukrainian people.
We are sincerely grateful to all international partners who stand side by side with Ukraine, providing unprecedented amounts of military, financial, political, legal, humanitarian and energy assistance, applying powerful economic sanctions against the aggressor state, undertaking to set up a Special International Tribunal regarding the punishment of the highest political and military leadership of russia for the crime of aggression against Ukraine and contributing to the work of the International Criminal Court in the investigation of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of genocide.
At this crucial stage of the war, we call on our international partners to redouble their comprehensive and critically needed support for Ukraine in order to speed up the Ukrainian victory.
Vitally important is the further consolidation of efforts around the Peace Formula of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the implementation of which will ensure a just and lasting peace in Ukraine and prevent the recurrence of similar aggression in the future.
The indispensable prerequisites for the installation of peace must be complete withdrawal of russian troops from the territory of Ukraine, restoration of its internationally recognized borders, payment of reparations for all the damage caused by russia’s armed aggression, and bringing those who gave criminal orders and those who executed them to international criminal responsibility.
Ukraine will continue moving towards its victory over the russian aggression and full-fledged membership of the EU and NATO.
We pay tribute to the bravery and heroism of Ukrainian men and women of all defence and security forces protecting Ukraine.