OP-ED: One-year commemoration of the war against Ukraine…borders cannot be changed by force

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 February 2023, 16:37 by Denis Chabrol

Today HE Ambassador of the United States of America, Sarah-Ann Lynch, HE the British High Commissioner, Jane Miller OBE, HE Canadian High Commissioner, Mark Berman, and HE Ambassador of the European Union, René van Nes, solemnly note the one-year commemoration of the war against Ukraine.  Russia must be held accountable.

We all remember the fateful day when Russia’s premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustifiable full-scale invasion of Ukraine shocked the collective conscience of democratic nations around the world. But we also remember how the Ukrainian people inspired the world as they defended their country from aggression.  Russia’s brutal full-scale invasion was a blatant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity enshrined in the United Nations Charter.  In October, Guyana joined one hundred and forty-three other countries at the United Nations that stood up for those principles and against Russia’s assault on them.

We commend Guyana for reaffirming the UN Charter, for supporting and co-sponsoring UN resolutions condemning Russian aggression against Ukraine adopted on March 2, 2022 (A/RES/ES-11/1); on the humanitarian consequences of aggression against Ukraine adopted on March 24 (A/RES/ES-11/2), 2022; and on supporting Ukraine’s territorial integrity on October 12, 2022 (A/RES/ES-11/1).

Today, as we mark the tragic start of the invasion, the United States and our partners reiterate our steadfast solidarity with the people and government of Ukraine in the face of Russia’s ongoing war of aggression.  We will stand with them for as long as it takes.

We unequivocally condemn Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. The United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the EU have imposed sanctions intended to cripple Russia’s ability to finance the war against Ukraine, enact costs on Russia’s elite, and diminish Russia’s economic base. Export controls and airspace restrictions have cut off Russia’s access to vital technological inputs and atrophied their industrial base. To date, the international community has provided hundreds of billions of dollars in security, humanitarian, economic, and emergency assistance aid to Ukraine and Ukrainian people since the war began.

The events of the past year demonstrate that Russia’s actions against Ukraine undermine those basic international principles vital to peace and security- that the borders and territorial integrity of a state cannot be changed by force, citizens in a democracy have an inherent right to determine their country’s future, and all members of the international community are bound by common rules with consequences if they break their solemn commitments. We also note that some Russian citizens have stood up to decry their government’s aggression, and we admire their courage.

Today, in the face of the global challenges we know that safety and shared prosperity comes through partnership, not aggression. We affirm that countries that respect human rights, uphold the rule of law, and support inclusive and accountable governance for all their citizens produce the best solutions to the most difficult problems. As the free nations of the world strive to uphold democratic principles that form the cornerstone of a free, independent, and sovereign society, Ukraine is a powerful example of a democracy rising to the occasion with resolve, courage, valor, and steadfast determination.

Finally, make no mistake that our support for Ukraine and its people who are bravely defending their homeland is ironclad. Furthermore, we call on Russia to end the brutal onslaught against its neighbor.  Russia chose this war – and the world is responding to hold Russia accountable for the atrocities it is committing in Ukraine.  We want this war to end as quickly as possible – on just terms that respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.  A democratic, prosperous, and secure Ukraine is in the interest not only of the people of Ukraine, but also of the democratic nations of the international community.