Press Releases OSCE: Press remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell ahead of the Ministerial Council in Poland

OSCE: Press remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell ahead of the Ministerial Council in Poland

Good morning,

As High-Representative of the European Union for Foreign and Security Policy and Vice-President of the [European] Commission, I am attending the [Ministerial Council] meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to participate in the strong condemnation of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

This is a violation of international law. It is also a violation of the principles of the OSCE. Russia has brought the war to Europe, has undermined the United Nations Charter and its [own] international obligations.

Russia is unable to conquer Ukraine. It is unable to win the war, so it is destroying Ukraine systematically: bombing, destroying all civilian infrastructure. Their purpose is to put the Ukrainian people into the darkness and the cold in the winter. It is weaponising the winter. This is a war crime.

At the OSCE meeting, we will address the situation and study how to reinforce the OSCE through common multilateral efforts, in order to pave the way for a new security order in Europe. Because we need a new security order in Europe, after Russia has broken completely the one that we had.

In this meeting, I will be presenting our support – the European Union’s support – to the OSCE and to Ukraine. I will announce an additional contribution of more than €1 million for demining operations in Ukraine through the OSCE. 

More importantly this afternoon, in the meeting about the accountability for the Russian crimes and atrocities, I will present a proposal of the High Representative, together with the [European] Commission, in order to support the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC) – which is already working a lot – to support the Ukrainian Prosecutor [General] to gather evidence of these atrocities, and to support the proposal for a special tribunal dedicated to this issue – to the war crimes in Ukraine.

But this has to be approved by the Member States of the European Union first, and gather the stronger support of the United Nations, with a bigger number of countries.

Our proposal will be on the table, along the three lines of work: strong support to the [International] Criminal Court; strong support to the Ukrainian Prosecutor [General]; strong support to the proposal of creating a Special Tribunal – but this has to be discussed and approved first, by the Member States of the European Union and after, to gather support at the United Nations.

And secondly, I already said many times that Russia has to pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine. The reconstruction of Ukraine will require an incredible amount of resources because the country is being destroyed systematically, and to rebuild it will cost. There are many figures around but whatever the figures are, we know they will be very high.

We have seized almost €20 billion [from] oligarchs and people supporting Russia. And also, we have control of about €300 billion of financial resources of the Russian Central Bank. 

This amount of money has to be used for the reconstruction of Ukraine. So, I will meet with my colleagues Foreign Ministers – today with many more than the Ministers of the European Union. We will explore all legal possibilities to make sure that Russia will pay for the destruction it is causing in Ukraine.

These reserves are blocked but [between being] blocked and being seized, there is a strong difference. There are legal procedures that need to be studied, but our proposal is on the table. 

Also, we will work with the Ministers [for Foreign Affairs] of Azerbaijan [Jeyhun Bayramov] and of Armenia [Ararat Mirzoyan]. I think that it is a historic opportunity to achieve a sustainable peace to this conflict in the South Caucasus.


(Due to technical reasons there is no video recording available at this moment)

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