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UK military advisor, Ian Stubbs, says Russia repeatedly underestimates the strength of the Ukrainian people and our unwavering resolve to support them in defending

their homeland.


Thank you, Madam Chair.

Despite our Russian colleagues’ futile attempts to portray it otherwise, the simple truth is that Russia is responsible for this horrific war, which is in breach of the UN Charter, and for the needless deaths of thousands of innocent men, women and children. To characterise such a situation as anything other than a human tragedy for both sides denies the reality.

However, that is what the Kremlin does – it denies the reality to itself and to the Russian people. Here in Vienna, we have watched our Russian colleagues use this Forum as a mouthpiece to try to justify the unjustifiable.  They have perpetuated a campaign of lies, threats and propaganda which has no solid foundation whatsoever. They have complained of confrontation and professed to seek dialogue. Yet, it is our Russian colleagues who have become increasingly contemptuous of this Forum, belligerent towards the Chair, and threatening towards fellow delegates.

Let us step back and remind ourselves of Russia’s approach to dialogue and diplomacy:

Russia repeatedly lied in this and other multilateral fora over the true purpose of its extraordinary military build-up on Ukraine’s borders and in illegally annexed Crimea.

Russia not only ignored its commitments under the Vienna Document, but weaponised this Confidence and Security Building measure to support its disinformation campaign.

Russia rejected calls for dialogue and de-escalation and instead pursued a path of confrontation.

Russia said there would be no war.

Russia said it had no intentions of invading Ukraine.

Russia conducted an unprovoked, premeditated and barbaric attack against a sovereign democratic State to conquer it by force and failed.

Madam Chair, whilst Russia persists in launching large-scale missile and drone strikes on towns and cities across Ukraine, we are thankful that most continue to be successfully intercepted by Ukraine’s air defences, including with those systems gifted by Ukraine’s international partners.

Russia also continues to struggle to achieve air superiority. Last week, we reported that four Russian military aircraft lost over Russia’s Bryansk region indicated that Russia’s ability to operate safely in its own airspace was now compromised. This increased air threat over Russia’s border region will be of exceptional concern to the Russian Air Force because it uses the area to launch air power in support of its illegal war. Ukraine’s repeated success in shooting down the Kinzhal hypersonic ballistic missile, once lauded by Putin as “undefeatable”, will add to Russia’s concern.

Madam Chair, Russia has repeatedly underestimated the strength and determination of the courageous Ukrainian people to defend their homeland. In addition, Russia has severely underestimated our unwavering resolve to support Ukraine, alongside our friends and partners, for however long it takes.

Russia has also clearly underestimated NATO’s resolve. Russia’s own aggressive actions have directly resulted in NATO growing stronger: welcoming new members; strengthening its forward presence; transforming the NATO Response Force; and boosting its ability to defend every inch of Allied territory.

Madam Chair, Russia could end this all now.  It could end the pain and suffering of so many. It could end the terrible impact on the Russian people – needless deaths; grieving families; discontent; and isolation. It could end all this if it stopped its brutal and barbaric invasion of its sovereign neighbour and withdrew its forces from Ukraine.

Ukraine has regained territory and liberated thousands of Ukrainian people thanks to the awe-inspiring bravery of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the resilience of the Ukrainian people and the overwhelming international support. Together, the UK and partners are ensuring that Ukraine will win. Our united approach of providing Ukraine with the support it needs to defend itself and push Russia out of Ukraine’s sovereign territory is the swiftest, and only, path to a just and lasting peace. Thank you. Photo by Immanuel Giel, Wikimedia commons.