Speech by Minister of Foreign Affairs Wopke Hoekstra on the one-year anniversary of the start of the war in Ukraine

Speech by Minister of Foreign Affairs Wopke Hoekstra on the one-year anniversary of the start of the war in Ukraine, 23 February 2023 – UN General Assembly: eleventh emergency special session on Ukraine.

Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,

Tomorrow, we mark a sad one-year anniversary.

The anniversary of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.

A war for which Russia, and Russia alone, is responsible.

Over the past year, we’ve witnessed how Russia’s aggression is slowly destroying Ukraine.

How innocent men, women, and children are being killed.

How schools, hospitals, and entire neighborhoods are being wiped out.

And how the Ukrainian people are enduring murder, rape, torture and abduction.

But make no mistake:

This war is not only an attack on Ukraine.

It is an attack on the principle of sovereignty.

It’s an attack on the UN charter.

The UN charter all of us signed.

An attack on our security,

On our economies,

On the SDG’s, that were already in jeopardy.

It’s an attack on what we all stand for. Despite all our differences.

If we turn a blind eye to Russia’s aggression,

if we allow it to trample the UN Charter,

if might becomes right,

then I only see more hardship, more instability and more suffering ahead of us.

Ladies and gentlemen,

the only way forward, the only way forward, is to commit to the agreement we have made.

By making sure that Ukraine survives as a state within its internationally recognized borders,

and by working for a real, just and lasting peace for Ukraine.

That’s our common responsibility.

And that is why the Netherlands is doing all it can to support Ukraine.

And we will do everything in our power to ensure that Russia is held to account and that justice will be done.

We are taking a leading role in this,

For the very reason that all of us here should not accept a world where brute force prevails over justice.

That is why we strongly support the Ukrainian Prosecutor General

and International Criminal Court.

That is why we will be sending two more forensic investigation teams in 2023.

That is why we will host the new International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression.

And a damages register in The Hague.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We all want peace.

And the road to peace is actually very simple.

This war can end today.

If Russia sends its soldiers home.

Just send them home.

Just send them home.

But while this war continues, and as long as it continues, the Netherlands will do all it can to help Ukraine.

And we call on you, we call on all of you, dear friends, to join us.

To underline our joint commitment to the UN Charter.

To the rules based order it represents.

And to vote “yes” on the resolution that is put in front of this Assembly today.

Thank you.