Statement to the Press by the Secretary General of the United Nations on Russia’s decision to annex Ukrainian territory. Credit: UN Photo/Manuel Elias
  • by Antonio Guterres (Union of nations)
  • Delivery Press Service

At this dangerous time, I must underscore my duty as Secretary-General to uphold the Charter of the United Nations.

The UN Charter is clear.

Any annexation of the territory of one State by another State resulting from the threat or use of force is a violation of the UN Charter Principles and international law.

The UN General Assembly is equally clear.

In the famous Declaration of Friendly Relations of 24 October 1970 — repeatedly cited as declaring the rule of common international law by the International Court of Justice — the General Assembly stated that “the territory of a State shall not be the object of acquisition by another State resulting from the threat or use of force” and that “no territorial gain resulting from the threat or use of force is recognized as legitimate”.

And I have to be clear.

The Russian Federation, as one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, has a special responsibility to respect the Charter.

Any decision to proceed with the annexation of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine will have no legal value and deserve condemnation.

It cannot be reconciled with the international legal framework.

It goes against everything the international community is meant to stand for.

It violates the Purpose and Principles of the United Nations.

This is a dangerous escalation.

It has no place in the modern world.

It doesn’t have to be accepted.

The position of the United Nations is unequivocal: we are fully committed to the sovereignty, unity, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine, within internationally recognized boundaries, in accordance with relevant UN resolutions.

I would like to underline that the so-called “referenda” in occupied territories is carried out during active armed conflict, in territories under Russian occupation, and outside the legal and constitutional framework of Ukraine.

They cannot be called the original expression of the will of the people. Any decision by Russia to go forward will further jeopardize the prospects for peace.

This will prolong the dramatic impact on the global economy, especially developing countries and hinder our ability to provide life-saving assistance throughout Ukraine and beyond.

It is time to step back from the abyss.

Now more than ever, we must work together to end this devastating and senseless war and uphold the United Nations Charter and international law.

UN IPS Bureau

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© Inter Press Service (2022) — All Rights ReservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service