Foreign Secretary opens debate on the situation Ukraine

Foreign Secretary opens debate on the situation Ukraine

Introduction: state of the war

I beg to move… that this House has considered the situation in Ukraine.

Putin’s unprovoked, illegal war has now entered its third month.

Russian forces failed in their initial war aims.

They failed to take Kyiv and they have suffered heavy losses.

But Ukraine now faces a renewed offensive in the East and the South. And we are seeing atrocities in Mariupol, Odesa, and beyond.

We must double down in our response.

So far Putin’s planning has been riddled with misconceptions and miscalculations.

He was wrong about Ukraine’s strength and determination.

We must prove him wrong again in his expectations of our stamina and our commitment.

Our aim remains clear: Putin must lose in Ukraine. And we will do everything we can to ensure that.

We know his ambitions don’t stop at Ukraine.

I am in constant contact with Allies and partners, urging more action.

That was the case I made to NATO and G7 Foreign Ministers earlier this month… and in every exchange I have with my counterparts around the world.

Since those meetings we’ve seen action in 3 areas…

Lethal aid

First of all, we are stepping up lethal aid.

The UK has always led this effort.

We have already supplied 6,000 anti-tank weapons and 120 armoured fighting vehicles, as well as ammunition, and other weapons.

We are helping other countries deliver equipment by providing logistics support.

We are also backfilling third countries’ stocks, for example offering to deploy British Challenger 2 tanks to Poland.

And we are training Ukrainian troops to use the new equipment.

Our allies are stepping up too.

For too long there was a false distinction between defensive and offensive weapons.

It became an excuse for some to drag their feet.

That time has now passed.

NATO allies are clear that we are delivering heavy weapons.

That is what Ukraine needs to halt the latest Russian initiative and to regain control over their territory.

Sanctions

Second, we are also relentlessly ramping up our economic action to choke off the funding for Putin’s war effort.

Again the UK is leading the way.

We have sanctioned more individuals and more organisations than any other nation.

So far we have designated over 1,500 individuals and entities.

Including over 100 oligarchs with assets worth over £198 billion.

We have put asset freezes on 18 major Russian banks – and like to see other countries follow – and barred over 3 million Russian companies from raising money on our capital markets.

These actions have been closely coordinated with the G7 and others.

We have also taken decisive action on trade – cutting Russia off from WTO terms and banning high tech exports to halt their technological development.

We have announced a ban on all new outward investment into Russia.

We cannot stop here.

We will keep increasing the pressure.

We need a new wave of sanctions.

Diplomatic action

Third, we are resolute in our diplomatic response.

We are reopening our Embassy in Kyiv.

I want to thank Ambassador Melinda Simmons and her team for their courage and action.

We are further isolating Putin on the world stage.

The United Kingdom led the diplomatic push to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.

We are using our Presidency of the UN Security Council to expose Russia’s war crimes, appalling rape and sexual violence seen systematically used in Ukraine.

We gave President Zelenskyy a platform to detail the abhorrent crimes that have been committed by Putin’s forces.

And we have launched the Murad code to set the global standard for evidence gathering from sexual violence.

We’re also working with the 141 countries that voted to condemn Russia in the UN General Assembly to toughen our stance.

Russia is not serious about negotiations.

Any eventual settlement would need to secure both Ukrainian and European security.

Must be backed up by international enforcement – both economic and security.

The fact is that Russia simply can’t be trusted to follow through on what it signs up to.

There has to be full enforcement of any settlement that is eventually reached.

Keeping Ukraine afloat

While the war continues we also need to support the Ukrainian people.

We’re helping refugees, delivering food, medicine and other essentials, and helping to keep their economy afloat.

Our overall package of humanitarian, economic and military support is worth $2 billion.

I can confirm today that two convoys of more than 40 fire engines have now arrived in Ukraine, packed with rescue equipment.

And we are supplying 22 more ambulances to Ukraine – equipped with paramedic kits and medical grab bags.

We secured the World Bank’s largest ever financial commitment to low income countries to help them deal with rising food security and energy prices.

Throughout this crisis the generosity of the British people has been incredible.

They donated over £300 million to the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal, including the UK’s largest ever government aid-match of £25 million.

I have seen Ukrainian flags flying all over the country.

The British people are standing with Ukraine.

Looking to the future

When the war is finally over, we will continue to support a strong, sovereign Ukraine.

We will help to bolster their security against future threats.

To that end, we are working on a joint commission with Poland to ensure Ukraine has the means to defend itself in the longer term, including with NATO-standard weapons.

And we will all help Ukraine to rebuild.

I am determined to work with the US, EU and other partners on a new Marshall Plan for the country.

We need to see a landmark international effort to rebuild Ukraine’s towns and cities, regenerate their industries and secure their freedom.

We will also ensure that Putin and his regime are held to account for their crimes in Ukraine.

We led calls at the OSCE for an independent investigation.

It has reported “credible evidence” of torture, rape, the killing of civilians and the forced deportation of over half a million people.

We have referred Russia to the ICC. It is now backed by over 40 states.

We are providing additional funding to the Court, as well as UK personnel to provide technical assistance.

And we have appointed Sir Howard Morrison to support the Ukrainian Prosecutor General in her investigations.

This House can be assured that whatever it takes to bring the perpetrators to justice will be done.

Conclusion

The repulsive behaviour of Putin and his forces only strengthens our resolve to stand with Ukraine.

This is a battle for Ukraine’s freedom and sovereignty – and for the very principles of self-determination and the rule of law.

Ukraine must triumph.

We will not relent in our efforts until they do.

Published 26 April 2022

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