Mr. President,

I would like to thank Deputy Secretary General Rosemary DiCarlo for her speech.

The United Nations Charter commits us all to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States. It also establishes the imperative of refraining from the use of force. These principles are indispensable pillars of international order and are intended to promote peaceful relations between states. Any annexation of the territory of one State by another resulting from the threat or use of force constitutes a violation of these fundamental principles of international law.

The situation in Ukraine is a stark reminder of the repercussions of failing to respect these principles.

Ten years have passed since the so-called "referendum" in Crimea, and a year and a half since Russia repeated this illegal action in the regions of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporijjia while the war was raging, and continues to do so, as we witnessed with great sadness today in Odesa. I would like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Ukraine. The annexation of Ukrainian territories declared by Russia following these votes is a serious violation of international law, including of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. We insist that these regions are and will remain an integral part of Ukraine. Switzerland reiterates its commitment to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Switzerland condemns Russia's decision to organise so-called presidential "elections" in the occupied territories of Ukraine, which are taking place at this very moment. The holding of these so-called "elections" in occupied territory is a violation of international law, and the results have no legitimacy whatsoever. Switzerland will not recognise either the results of these so-called "elections" in territories or the incorporation of Ukrainian territories into the Russian Federation.

We also urge Russia to cease all hostilities and withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory.

Mr President,

With a large majority of the General Assembly, Switzerland supported resolution ES-11/4 on the territorial integrity of Ukraine. This resolution calls on all States and international organisations not to recognise any change by Russia in the status of Ukrainian territories and to refrain from any action that could be interpreted as such recognition. This appeal is particularly important at this time.

As long as these territories remain under occupation, Russia is obliged to respect its obligations as an occupying power under international humanitarian law. In particular, it is obliged to respect the existing Ukrainian legal order. We are deeply concerned by the ongoing failure to comply with these obligations and by the recurrent, serious and systematic violations of human rights and humanitarian law as highlighted in the latest report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine and the report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the ten-year occupation of Crimea.

We commend the work of the Commission of Inquiry and the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine. We reiterate that strict respect for international law and human rights is imperative at all times. This includes the obligation to allow and facilitate the rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian aid to civilians in need, including in occupied areas.

To conclude, I underline that the organisation of so-called electoral processes in the occupied areas of Ukraine further undermines the prospects for peace. What we need are decisive steps towards a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine, in accordance with the United Nations Charter. My country remains fully committed to this goal. 

Thank you very much.

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