I would like to thank Assistant Secretary-General Miroslav Jenča for his presentation and take note of Mr. Steve Sweeney's comments.
Nine years ago today, the "Normandy format" negotiations in Minsk led to an agreement that raised hopes of breaking the spiral of military escalation and finding a peaceful, political solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, as called for by the United Nations Charter.
Russia was a signatory to the Minsk agreements and endorsed them, supporting Resolution 2202 of this Council. Nevertheless, Moscow brutally put an end to these agreements almost two years ago, by recognizing the independence of the "people's republics" of Luhansk and Donetsk and launching its military aggression against Ukraine. We reject Russia's attempts to justify this violation of international law and blatant disregard for the fundamental principles of the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
Switzerland's commitment to peace in Ukraine has remained unwavering since 2014 and will continue to be so. Following Russia's annexation of Crimea and the start of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, we have been actively engaged in ensuring that the relevant OSCE structures receive the necessary political and financial support as well as the personal resources to fulfill their mandate. In this respect, we would like to highlight the work of the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine. For years, it observed and reported impartially on the situation on the ground.
We have also encouraged and contributed to dialogue within the OSCE Minsk process. Although implementation has been difficult, the Minsk agreements have made this dialogue possible. Considerable efforts have been made at various levels, including within the Trilateral
Contact Group. These examples underline that, for years, the OSCE and the Minsk agreements have contributed to de-escalation and the delivery of humanitarian aid to affected populations in eastern Ukraine.
As the Secretary-General said last Wednesday: Wars destroy. Peace builds.
Efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine, in accordance with the United Nations Charter, must be pursued. We reiterate that international organizations, including the OSCE, can play an important role in de-escalating the current situation and resolving the conflict peacefully. This role was also underlined by General Assembly resolution ES-11/4.
Indeed, the OSCE continues to work for peace. Through the Moscow Mechanism, activated three times since the outbreak of the military aggression, the OSCE is helping to establish the facts - an essential task if perpetrators of crimes are to be held accountable. With the establishment of the Extrabudgetary Support Program for Ukraine, the Organization has set up a framework enabling it to bring its vast expertise to work for the benefit of Ukraine and its people. Switzerland fully supports the efforts of the Organization's Chairpersonship to keep Russia's military aggression against Ukraine at the center of the OSCE's attention.
Madam President, we reiterate our firm condemnation of Russia's actions undermining Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. We call on Russia to immediately cease its military aggression against Ukraine.
You can count on Switzerland's continued commitment, both at the multilateral and national levels, to rebuild the path to peace.