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General Assembly – Eleventh Emergency Special Session in Plenary Meeting

Statement delivered by Italy at the Eleventh Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly in Plenary Meeting on Ukraine – 7th Plenary Meeting —

Mister President,

Italy aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union and wishes to make the following remarks in its national capacity.

One month has passed since the Russian Federation initiated, with the complicity of Belarus, its unjustified and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine, against its sovereignty, against the integrity of its borders, triggering a level of humanitarian catastrophe that Europe had not experienced since World War II.

Over these four weeks, we have seen a growing number of civilian causalities, including women and children, and millions of people fleeing their homes, internally displaced or seeking refuge in neighboring countries that are showing incredible and commendable solidarity.

The war has extended to highly populated cities, where the use of explosive weapons is causing unbearable human suffering. We have been also witnessing the devastation of essential infrastructures – such as hospitals, schools, bridges, highways and water systems – which will aggravate the condition of the civilian population for years to come.

Notwithstanding this dramatic situation and in total disregard of the appeals repeatedly made by the Secretary General and of the resolution adopted by the General Assembly on the 2nd of March, the Russian aggression continues to unfold, further challenging the basic principles of international humanitarian law.

At the same time, the Security Council continues to be unable to address the situation in Ukraine, including its huge humanitarian consequences, due to the behavior of one of its Permanent Members, which happens to be the initiator and the sole responsible of this war.

This is the reason why a cross-regional group of Member States, including Italy, requested the resumption of this Emergency Special Session. If the Security Council cannot act on such a fundamental question, the General Assembly has the right and the obligation to retake the initiative.

To protect the civilian population in Ukraine it is essential that Russia immediately stops this aggression, guarantees the safe passage of civilians and the unimpeded access to humanitarian assistance and urgently and genuinely engage in negotiations for a peaceful resolution.

These are the main contents of the draft resolution that a cross-regional group of Member States has submitted to this meeting of the Emergency Special Session and that already enjoys the support of a high number of co-sponsoring States.

We trust that, in face of this unbearable humanitarian tragedy occurring in the heart of Europe, the General Assembly will respond, as it did on the 2nd of March last, with a great display of cohesion, sense of responsibility and determination.

And it also should be kept in mind that this war of aggression is seriously affecting food security in different parts of the world.

This is the time to act, without hesitation, reaffirming the imperative and “erga omnes” character of international humanitarian law, while maintaining, at the same time, a clear and unequivocal distinction between the aggressor and the victim.

Let me conclude, Mr. President, my intervention by reaffirming our full solidarity with the millions of people suffering from this war of aggression. Together with European partners and allies, Italy will continue to do its part in providing humanitarian assistance and will continue to stand with Ukraine and its people.

I thank you.