2023 Meeting of High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons
Joint Statement on Ukraine
I have the honour to speak on behalf of: Albania, Austria, Australia, (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg (Kingdom of the), Malta, the Principality of Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands (Kingdom of), New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, the United States of America, and (the European Union), and my own country, the United Kingdom.
We reiterate our strong support for Ukraine and resolute condemnation of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, which brings unspeakable suffering and hardship to millions of affected civilians daily and has damaged civilian infrastructure throughout the country. We also remain gravely concerned about reports of Russia’s failure to comply with its obligations under the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Protocols during its invasion of Ukraine.
Approximately six million people in Ukraine are at risk due to Russia’s use of mines. Two hundred sixty-one people have been killed, including children, and over 500 injured by landmine blasts. More than one third of Ukraine’s territory, including sea areas, need to be surveyed for explosive hazards. Deminers have already discovered over 707 thousand explosive objects. We continue to condemn any use of mines, booby traps, and other devices prohibited by Amended Protocol II and we stress the severe humanitarian crisis that is resulting from Russia’s use of such devices, in particular in urban environments, and the negative effect on the security, stability and socio-economic development of Ukraine. We are alarmed by reports that Russia’s forces are planting mines near critical infrastructure facilities.
We appreciate the efforts made by governments, including many of those who have joined this statement, and numerous humanitarian organizations in clearing and securing areas in Ukraine that have been contaminated as a result of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. We highly value measures undertaken by the Government of Ukraine in humanitarian demining, victim assistance and rehabilitation to ensure the safety of civilians and to create conditions for sustainable development in the affected regions. It is crucial to ensure the full recovery, safety and stability of the affected Ukrainian territories. In this regard we call upon all States to strengthen the support for Ukraine, as Ukraine continues to regain control over its territory, in clearing its territory from mines and explosive ordnance in compliance with international mine action standards, in supporting risk education, victim assistance and rehabilitation efforts.
We reiterate the importance of holding Russia to account for any violations of its obligations under the CCW and its Protocols, and for the damage caused by its illegal invasion of Ukraine. And we continue call on Russia to take all appropriate steps to prevent and suppress violations of the CCW and its Protocols and to end its senseless and illegal invasion of Ukraine, in accordance with its obligations under international law.
I thank you.