26 Feb 2024

Madam President,


          We are gathered in the General Assembly again to discuss the longstanding issue of the “temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine”. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 was and remains a serious blow to international law and to the multilateral system. We are unfortunately entering the third year of war in Ukraine, with rising civilian casualties and with no clear prospects for peace.  



2        We share the concerns expressed by the Secretary-General in his briefing to the Security Council on 23 February, during which he said that Russia’s war in Ukraine has a real risk of escalating and expanding, and was undermining the shared norms and values that make us all safer. We also echo the Secretary-General’s call for peace in line with international law, the UN Charter, and relevant General Assembly and Security Council resolutions.



Madam President,


3        I would like to make three points. Firstly, I would like to reiterate Singapore’s clear and consistent position that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, annexation of Ukraine’s territories and continued occupation of these territories are clear violations of international law and the UN Charter. Singapore has taken a principled position on this conflict; we have not taken sides but we have taken a stand, based on the principles of the UN Charter and on international law.  The sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected and protected; this is a fundamental tenet of the multilateral rules-based system based on the UN Charter. We therefore continue to categorically reject the claims of “historical” errors and omissions that were used to justify the invasion and annexation of Ukraine.



4        Secondly, we are distressed by the worsening humanitarian situation in Ukraine. The deaths of civilians and damages to civilian infrastructure have increased in recent months. Earlier this month, the UN reported a “harrowing wave” of attacks on Ukraine, resulting in civilian casualties and disruptions to essential civilian services, which was part of a “concerning pattern of harm” and violations of international humanitarian law. The UN has also recorded over 30,000 civilian casualties, including over 10,000 killed, since the start of the war in February 2022, with the actual numbers likely to be much higher. We call on all parties to fully comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, to prevent further civilian casualties. 



5        I take this opportunity to express our appreciation to the Secretary-General, and to various UN agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross for their important efforts to facilitate and provide essential aid to those in need despite the challenging conditions on the ground. The Singapore Government has also provided humanitarian assistance packages to address Ukraine’s humanitarian needs.



6        Thirdly, we regret that despite having held more than 100 meetings on the war in Ukraine, the Security Council remains paralysed. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine undermines international peace and security, and weakens multilateralism. We are all witness to the war’s far-reaching impacts on global food and fuel prices, which has hurt developing countries and vulnerable communities around the world the most. The Security Council has a responsibility to prevent any spillover of the conflict, and to avoid an escalation of the war.



Madam President,


7        We call on Russia to heed the international community’s repeated and unambiguous calls to adhere to its obligations under the UN Charter and international law. Russia also has an obligation to respect the order of the International Court of Justice to immediately and unconditionally withdraw all its forces from Ukraine’s temporarily occupied territories in respect of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity based on internationally recognised borders. We encourage all parties to make all efforts towards achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine.



8        I thank you for your attention.


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