I thank Deputy General Secretary Rosemary DiCarlo for her presentation.
Switzerland takes note of the information concerning a military aircraft which crashed in the Belgorod region near the Ukrainian border yesterday. At present, we have no reliable information on this incident. It is crucial that the facts be established in a thorough, transparent and independent manner. We recall that the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission is at the disposal of the parties to a conflict at all times to clarify the circumstances. We call on everyone to avoid speculation, accusations and hasty conclusions that only exacerbate existing tensions.
Without prejudging the detailed conclusions, I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate three key messages:
For over 700 days, Russia’s military aggression has been causing immeasurable suffering and destruction. If this military aggression had not taken place, we would not be discussing incidents such as the one that brings us together today. We deplore the loss of life resulting from this senseless war, and call on Russia to cease all combat operations and withdraw its troops from Ukraine.
International humanitarian law must be respected unconditionally by all parties to conflict. It accords crucial protection to people who are not or are no longer taking part in hostilities, such as civilians, wounded combatants and prisoners of war. We recall that, under the Geneva Conventions, prisoners of war must be protected against the dangers arising from military operations. The primary responsibility for ensuring their safety, including during transport, lies with the detaining power. We support efforts to exchange prisoners of war, and invite the parties to pursue them.
In connection with the first two points, we urge Russia to cease the waves of missile and drone attacks that continue to cause civilian casualties and extensive damage to civilian infrastructure, again this week in several locations in Ukraine, including Kyiv, Kharkiv and the Dnipropetrovsk region.
There is urgent need to redouble efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine.
I thank you.