Permanent Mission of Australia
to the United Nations
New York

220302 Emergency Special Session of the UN General Assembly: Statement on Ukraine


2 March 2022

Statement by H.E. The Hon. Mitch Fifield, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations

Mr President, Secretary General, colleagues and particularly our dear friend the Ambassador of Ukraine.

My Government could not have made its position more clear.

Australia condemns in the strongest possible terms Russia’s unprovoked, egregious and completely unjustified aggression against Ukraine.

As our Prime Minister has said,

  • There is no pretext.
  • There is no provocation.
  • There is no just cause that Russia is seeking to pursue. 

These are unilateral, hostile actions.

The UN Charter, it says, we, the peoples of the United Nations, committed to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security.

Russia has chosen war.

We strongly reject any assertions or excuses that Russia’s actions are motivated by humanitarian concerns.

We call Russia’s actions for what they are – a brutal invasion and a direct attack on the people of Ukraine.

President Putin and the Kremlin have ignored repeated high-level calls to engage in genuine reciprocal dialogue over security concerns. 

As our Foreign Minister has said:

“the assertion by President Putin of Russian soldiers acting as peacekeepers is an obscene perversion of the noble and vital role that generations of peacekeepers have played across the world”.

Russia’s actions are deplorable.

Russia’s actions are reckless and destructive.

Russia’s actions are a wholesale breach of international law.

Mr President. Let’s be clear.

Russia is violating its obligations under the UN Charter, including most obviously to refrain from using force against another State.

Australia welcomed the significant efforts that were made by our close partners, including the United States, the EU and NATO to urge a diplomatic solution.

Unfortunately, those efforts have failed for now.

But we are determined to continue to work closely within the UN and with responsible nations worldwide to ensure Russia’s actions incur both the international condemnation and high cost that they deserve.

We welcome the significant steps taken by our partners, including the US, the UK, EU, Canada and Japan. 

We also welcome the increasing number of firm statements and practical offers of support to Ukraine, both in Europe and in our own region of the Indo-Pacific.

The Australian Government has announced a range of sanctions that impose real costs on Moscow, reflecting the grave nature of Russia’s conduct.

Australia has sanctioned more than 350 Russian individuals, including corrupt oligarchs, MPs, and military commanders who are facilitating Putin’s illegal and violent ambitions.

We have sanctioned 13 Belarusian individuals and entities who have aided and abetted Putin’s aggression.

We are also supporting Ukraine and its people.

We are working with NATO and other partners to provide lethal as well as non-lethal military equipment, medical supplies, and financial assistance to support the people of Ukraine.

At the outset, Australia contributed US$3 million to NATO’s Trust Fund for Ukraine to support non-lethal military equipment and medical supplies.

Overnight, our Prime Minister announced a further US$50 million to support both lethal and non-lethal defensive support for Ukraine, working with our partners.

In addition, our Prime Minister announced an initial contribution of US$25 million to provide of humanitarian support to international organisations to help meet essential needs and to provide shelter, food, medical care and water.

But this is just our opening contribution.

We know that needs will continue to rise, and we stand ready to help.

We call on all parties to adhere to international human rights and humanitarian law to ensure the protection of civilians.

Australia has been and will always be a steadfast supporter of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Our thoughts are with Ukraine.

Ukranians are enduring a terrible invasion. The bombs fall. The shelling continues and the bullets are fired. Special forces from Russia are moving towards Kyiv and tanks are rolling in all around their borders.

We reiterate our call to stop this violation. We seek immediate withdrawal of the Russian military. We seek the cessation of this military action.

We call for peace; a peace that is not just the absence of war, but that enables the people of Ukraine to live according to their own rules, according to their own sovereignty, and to have their own freedom.

As the Secretary-General said last week colleagues, the decisions of the coming days will shape our world and directly affect the lives of millions.

Now is the time for us all, the peoples of the United Nations, to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security.

Australia will cosponsor the resolution, Australia will vote yes on the resolution condemning Russia’s aggression.

Now is the time to act.

To act together.