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Address by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba at the Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Meeting
08 July 2022 11:27

Your Excellency Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Mr. Henry Puna,  

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

I am grateful for this opportunity to address the Pacific Islands Forum that represents one of the regions distant from Ukraine geographically, but close to us in terms of our shared values and principles.

During recent years, the Forum has strengthened its role as one of the key regional organizations. Today, it remains an important platform to promote dialogue and cooperation among members and contribute to harmony, security, social inclusion, and prosperity of the region.

Ukraine has always been and remains committed to developing friendly and mutually beneficial relations with all countries of your region. Ukraine stands side by side with you on issues of national sovereignty and security, combating climate change, ensuring maritime rights and sustainable development.

Ukraine is willing to strengthen political dialogue, expand people-to-people ties and cultural exchanges with countries of the region. We are also keen on strengthening our cooperation within international organizations to promote global peace and security.

The Forum’s guidelines largely correspond with our principles and values and strongly correlate with the struggle of the Ukrainian people for freedom and independence.

Ukraine is a brave and freedom-loving European nation which currently fights for its future, sovereignty, and territorial integrity following a brutal and unprovoked Russian military invasion. We have never wanted this war, it was imposed on us by our aggressive neighbor. But we are determined to prevail and win peace for our people.

We think that the 21st century is the time to join forces and overcome regional and global challenges, make our world better, improve the lives for the next generations, and not to fight brutal large-scale wars. Unfortunately, Russia sticks to a different thinking and is guided by the principles of the Middle Ages and colonialism.

The war we are fighting is obviously very distant geographically from your countries. But I am sure that the principles we defend are close to your hearts. Ukraine is fighting not only for its sovereignty and territorial integrity, but also for the entire democratic world against tyranny and dictatorship. This makes me confident that the Forum’s member-states support Ukraine in this struggle because you share the same approach to the principles of international law as Ukraine. If Russia succeeded in destroying Ukraine, which I hope it won’t, the entire global rule-based order would be damaged: no democratic country would feel safe and secured from the use of force by another state.

The overwhelming support for Ukraine during the voting of the relevant resolutions within the United Nations proves that the entire international community stands by Ukraine during these challenging times.  On March 2nd, 141 UN member states condemned Russian aggression against Ukraine and demanded Russia to immediately stop it.

I am sincerely grateful to all members of the Forum who supported UN Resolutions condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and violation of international norms and principles. We hope that the Forum’s members will continue to back Ukraine within the UN and other international platforms.

We highly appreciate sanctions imposed on Russia by Australia and New Zealand, as well as their military, financial and humanitarian assistance provided to Ukraine. By standing with Ukraine in these challenging times, Canberra and Wellington have truly proven that geographical distance does not play a role when it comes to standing up for what is right, for our shared ideals and principles.

In the modern interconnected world we all depend on each other, so there is no global security without regional security. Food and energy supplies are fundamental for both.

Today’s consumer inflation and rising costs of living in various parts of the world are directly linked to Russia’s barbaric war against Ukraine. Ukraine is a major global supplier of food and agricultural goods. For instance, we provide almost half of the global supplies of sunflower oil and many countries depend on our grains, corn and other products. In the course of Russia’s armed aggression, the Russian military has blocked our maritime trade routes in order to harm Ukraine economically. But the Russian naval blockade has also led to the disruption of logistical chains for food supplies to the international markets and continues to harm other countries which rely on our food exports.

The repercussions of Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian seaports are already visible around the globe. And the longer Russia’s war against Ukraine continues, the more dramatic the global impact will be. That is why it is vital to keep up pressure on Russia and maintain international solidarity with Ukraine to restore the international order.

The Russian war on Ukraine has been exceptionally brutal. It includes mass Russian atrocities against civilians, including rape, looting, deportation, and destruction of infrastructure and cultural heritage. Entire towns are being razed to the ground by Russian artillery. Russia terrorizes peaceful Ukrainian cities with long-range missile strikes on a daily basis. These war crimes are terrifying and they claim dozens of innocent Ukrainian lives daily.

But despite all odds and with international support, Ukraine still stands both feet on the ground and our troops have been able to achieve major battleground successes in the early stages of the war. But the war continues and Russia does not want to abandon its aggressive plans. The battles are ongoing and it is incredibly difficult for us to hold ground on the number of directions.

We have been actively looking for peaceful diplomatic solutions, and proposed many mutually acceptable ways out. Regrettably, Russia has consistently rejected any diplomatic efforts and prioritized war. Today, they remain focused on seeking military solutions. The sad reality is that the only way to force Russia to return to the negotiating table is to defeat it on the battleground. We count on further support by the entire international community in this regard.

I am confident that Ukraine will prevail. Our victory is in everyone’s interest, including Oceania. It will not only restore peace, justice and security in our region, but also contribute to global security and economic development. It is the price that Ukraine will have to pay for this victory that remains an open-ended question.

Dear colleagues, friends,

«No Man Is an Island». This is the name of a poem by a seventeenth-century English poet and clergyman John Donne. The poem is about none of us being self-sufficient and the need to rely on others. There is no better way to describe why I encourage you to support Ukraine.

In practice, I call on you to proceed with the following four steps:

1. continue supporting Ukraine within the UN, including by voting for the Ukraine related resolutions;

2. consider stepping up pressure on Russia by joining international sanctions;

3. limit Russian maritime activities within your respective territorial waters;

4. prevent the use of your jurisdictions as “tax havens” for Russians who try to evade sanctions.

I also call on you to remain vigilant about the Russian propaganda machine. Russia puts huge resources in financing its propaganda abroad and promoting manipulative narratives. Please, don’t trust information coming from Russian sources.

And finally, I advise you to avoid joint projects with Russia as potentially dangerous, because all Moscow’s activities today are aimed at poisoning foreign societies and undermining democracies.

Thank you for your kind attention and I wish you fruitful meetings!

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