Russia's attacks on Ukrainian cities prove Russia doesn’t want peace - EU at OSCE

Russia's attacks on Ukrainian cities prove Russia doesn’t want peace - EU at OSCE

Russia's ongoing attacks targeting civilian infrastructure across Ukraine constitute war crimes, but also testify to Moscow’s lack of commitment to peace.

That’s according to a statement regarding Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, made by the European Union mission at the meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

"Deliberately directing attacks against civilians and civilian objects constitutes a war crime and all responsible must and will be held to account. The persistent nature of such attacks, their intensification, and the escalating casualties are clear indications of the Kremlin's total lack of commitment to peace and its disregard for international law, which underpins the rules-based order," EU diplomats said, condemning Russian strikes targeting Ukraine’c civil infrastructure.

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In addition, the European Union expressed concern about the situation of the Ukrainian territories temporarily and illegally occupied by Russia, which "continues to worsen as we approaches the second-year mark since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine."

Along with this, the EU called on Russia to "immediately cease its systematic mistreatment of Ukrainian prisoners of war and civilian hostages in the temporarily and illegally occupied territories of Ukraine and in Russia."

"We demand the immediate release of all individuals, unlawfully deprived of their liberty, including the three arbitrarily detained OSCE staff members. We are particularly worried about recent reports concerning the brutal deterioration of the health of one former SMM staff member who urgently needs medical treatment," the statement said.

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Diplomats also drew attention to the fact that in early 2024, Russia amended legislation, " which reignite our fears for the fate of nearly 20,000 Ukrainian children, deported from their homes."

"President Putin’s decree of 4th January, which makes it possible to confer Russian citizenship on orphans and children without parental care, points to Russia’s intention to legalise their deportation or forced transfer - actions prohibited by IHL and the Rome Statute, in further violation of international law. We reiterate our urgent calls on Russia and Belarus to immediately ensure the safe return to Ukraine of all unlawfully deported and transferred Ukrainian children and other civilians," the statement said.

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The EU assured it would continue to "stand with Ukraine and its brave and resilient people for as long as it takes, for Ukraine to rightfully defend itself against Russia’s brutal war of aggression and to win the just and lasting peace it deserves."

"To this end, we will continue to provide Ukraine with strong political, financial, economic, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support," EU diplomats said.

As Ukrinform reported earlier, at the meeting of the European Council on Thursday, all 27 leaders of the European Union reached a consensus decision on setting up the Ukraine Facility in the amount of EUR 50 billion within the multi-year EU budget for 2024-2027.

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