UK Statement for the General Debate under Agenda Item 8. Delivered by the UK’s Permanent Representative to the WTO and the UN, Simon Manley.

Simon Manley CMG

Mr President, 

The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action makes clear that democracy is based on the freely expressed will of the people.  

But there was nothing remotely democratic about the recent, so called “elections” held in Ukrainian sovereign territory by Russia. Holding elections in Crimea, Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia – all Ukrainian territory – is a flagrant violation of the UN Charter and Ukrainian sovereignty. These regions will always be Ukrainian and Russia’s sham elections does not alter this fact.  

Nor were the elections held in Russia democratic.  

The vote was neither free nor fair. Its outcome was always clear. It served only to illustrate the severity of repression under President Putin.  

Putin removes his political opponents, controls the media, and then crowns himself the winner. Alexei Navalny’s death just weeks before the election was a tragic reminder of the severity of Putin’s political repression.  

Russia should release all those detained for opposing its illegal invasion of Ukraine. This includes dual British Russian national Vladimir Kara-Murza who should be released on humanitarian grounds for urgent medical treatment. 

It’s well beyond time to end Russia’s repression at home and the aggression abroad.

Thank you.

Published 27 March 2024