Speaking at the Annual Security Review Conference (ASRC), Director Matt Baugh outlines why Ukraine’s fight matters to all OSCE participating States.

Matt Baugh OBE

Thank you, Madam Chair. My thanks to you and to the Secretary General for your leadership under such challenging circumstances. Let me start by reiterating the UK’s unwavering support for Ukraine.

Chair, we meet together in this forum for the third time since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, an invasion that has fundamentally changed the landscape of European security. It is worth reiterating the facts:

Russia initiated this war and bears sole responsibility for it. With the support of Belarus, Russia has violated the UN Charter and contravened core OSCE principles. Principles on the non-use of force, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. This is why Ukraine’s fight matters to each of us in this room.

As Russia began this war, so it can end it. And yet, Russia is now into the third year of a war fuelled by North Korea, Iran, and China, and by callously throwing Russian lives at the front. Ukraine has retaken almost 40,000 square kilometres of its territory. Ukraine has damaged or destroyed nearly a quarter of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Ukraine’s maritime exports have resumed. All this is a testament to the bravery and resilience of the Ukrainian people who did not seek this war but who are determined to prevail – and who most certainly will.

Chair, together with our allies and partners, we continue to confront Russian aggression across Europe and repeatedly in this room, challenging the lies by which the illegal invasion has been justified and the barbaric conduct with which it is carried out. Russia has no defence against these challenges – its war demonstrates contempt for both the UN Charter and OSCE principles. In the face of the facts, Russia continues to weaponise the OSCE’s consensus principle, blocking even the most basic meetings of the Forum for Security Cooperation, hamstringing rightful discussion of its invasion of Ukraine.

Such tactics only reinforce Russia’s isolation and its desperation. By contrast, Ukraine and over 50 of its partners stood together in support of Ukraine’s self defence earlier this month in Switzerland.

Chair, in times such as these our support for the OSCE is more crucial than ever, and I am happy to re-state the UK’s commitment to the OSCE and the principles it stands for: from the Vienna Document to the Moscow Mechanism.

From Central Asia to the South Caucasus to the Western Balkans, the OSCE continues to demonstrate its value every day. Those decades of experience supporting States to manage and resolve conflicts through its toolbox, Missions and instruments all are of value and can help Ukraine rebuild and recover. All continue to matter to the wider OSCE region.

Chair, we continue to support the OSCE’s efforts to achieve peaceful resolutions to the protracted conflicts in Georgia and Moldova. We welcome the progress between Armenia and Azerbaijan and urge both parties to seize the opportunity to reach a lasting peace agreement.

Next year we will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act. That landmark agreement forms the bedrock of the OSCE. Ten core principles that have never been more relevant as they are today. Ten principles that Russia flagrantly and repeatedly contravenes in Ukraine. Ten principles that the rest of us remain solemnly committed to uphold.

Chair, Russia’s attempts to undermine and weaken the security of Europe will fail. The OSCE remains unique. The OSCE matters, and with all of our support, the OSCE will endure. Thank you.

Published 26 June 2024