Permanent Mission of Australia
to the United Nations
New York

220323 - Eleventh emergency special session of the UN General Assembly: Statement on Ukraine


23 March 2022

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

There is one reason and one reason alone why there is a humanitarian disaster in Ukraine. The reason is the Russian Federation.

This humanitarian disaster is the direct result of the unprovoked, unjustified and illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

And the greatest and most immediate improvement to this humanitarian disaster will come not from more money or better co-ordination or more access for NGO’s - as important as those things are.

The greatest and most immediate improvement to this humanitarian disaster will come from the immediate withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory.

That’s why any meaningful resolution on the humanitarian situation must call out Russia by name.

Russia has to stop its invasion. Russia has to get out of Ukraine.

Plain speaking and honesty are the very least the millions of suffering Ukrainians deserve.

Colleagues, let us support a resolution that demonstrates we stand in absolute solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

Russia’s actions have caused immense human suffering.

Australia is particularly distressed by the plight of the most vulnerable including women, children, people with disabilities and the elderly.

That’s why the Australian Government will deliver $65 million of life-saving assistance through trusted partners to address the needs of those who need it most.

We will continue to work in lock step with our international partners to support Ukraine and its people as they continue to face abhorrent threats to their lives, their families lives and their livelihoods.

And Australia was proud to be part of the Pacific Island Forum statement delivered by Fiji.

We again call on Russia to immediately withdraw its forces and uphold its obligations under International Humanitarian Law.

We are appalled by reports of Russia’s indiscriminate attacks on civilians.

Russia must allow the safe passage of civilians from Ukraine and safe access for the provision of humanitarian assistance.

And we condemn actions by third party countries that would enable and facilitate Russia’s invasion, including through economic, military and political support.

Australia will continue to impose travel bans and targeted financial sanctions to inflict heavy costs on those who bear responsibility or hold levers of power in Russia and Belarus.

And it is just so important we acknowledge the generosity of neighbouring countries that are hosting refugees. We are one with you as you continue in your support for the people of Ukraine.

Finally, Australia pays tribute to the remarkable resilience and the remarkable courage shown by the Ukrainian people.

Colleagues, this resolution is the only resolution in which Ukraine has been involved in the drafting.

By co-sponsoring or voting for this resolution we give meaning to the principle of ‘nothing about us without us’ in regions beyond our own.

In this way we can say, Ukraine, we stand with you.