February 24, 2024 marks the second anniversary of Russia’s shameful, illegal and unprovoked invasion of sovereign Ukraine. It is important for us today, more than ever, as the EU ambassadors to Cambodia, to show our commitment to an international order based on the rules and principles of the UN Charter, to reaffirm our unwavering support for Ukraine and to continue to condemn Russia for its crimes.

We appreciate Cambodia’s principled and courageous stance in the face of this full-scale invasion.

This war of aggression is a flagrant violation of everything that international law, and in particular the UN Charter, stands for. Russia has blatantly committed war crimes and violated the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-aggression.

This has resulted in tens of thousands of innocent victims and millions of temporarily displaced civilians, with attacks on civilian targets – including hospitals, schools and cultural landmark buildings – constituting part of Russia’s strategy. 

At the same time, the authorities do not hesitate in sacrificing thousands of young Russians. Among its many war crimes committed since the invasion, Russia has kidnapped, forcibly transferred and “re-educated” thousands of Ukrainian children without their parents’ consent, depriving them of their families and their identity.

Ukraine has become the most landmine-contaminated country in the world, which will require decades of clearance, as Cambodia is still experiencing. 

For the rest of the world, including Cambodia, Russia’s war of aggression has had an ongoing negative impact, and has set a dangerous precedent. If Russia wins, it will not stop at Ukraine’s borders and will encourage further acts of aggression by bigger states against smaller neighbours, in violation of international law and principles.

This illegal, unprovoked and unjustified full-scale invasion has further created global economic instability, disrupting food and energy markets, affecting Europeans and Cambodians in their daily life. The Russian Federation has been trying to sow chaos by manipulating information.

Since the beginning of its illegal temporary occupation of Crimea and Donbas in 2014, it has consistently violated its international obligations. It continued to do so after the illegal annexations of further Ukrainian provinces in 2022. 

In doing so, it has turned its back on its own legal obligations, international and bilateral agreements. It has not hesitated to use military force to achieve its ends, in defiance of the UN Charter and international law.

This disinhibition in the use of force will degrade the security environment in all regions of the world: accepting it would mean allowing the worst atrocities to be committed with impunity. Russia’s “offer” of partnership, as demonstrated in Ukraine and elsewhere, builds on intimidation, the creation of unilateral dependencies and the use of its natural resources as a geostrategic weapon. 

We, the European ambassadors to Cambodia, reiterate our unwavering support for and solidarity with Ukraine, so that it can achieve a just and lasting peace and rapidly rebuild itself. As stated by President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, “Ukraine will prevail and Europe will stand with Ukraine every step of the way, through thick and thin.”

We greatly appreciate Cambodia’s principled and courageous stance in the face of this full-scale invasion. Cambodia has positioned itself on the right side of history by clearly stating that it defends territorial integrity, peace and sovereignty in accordance with the UN Charter.

In affirmation of these principles, the Kingdom of Cambodia has repeatedly voted in favour of UN resolutions condemning the Russian Federation. Knowing how much Cambodians can relate to the plight of the Ukrainian people, we encourage Cambodia to maintain this stand internationally and to deepen its valuable assistance to Ukraine in its de-mining efforts.

Ukraine’s 10-point peace plan shows us the way forward to a just and lasting peace based on the principles of the UN Charter, addressing key issues such as confidence-building measures, the restoration of territorial integrity, food and energy security, and environmental protection.

The EU and its member states fully support it. So far, Russia has shown no real willingness to negotiate, clinging to unacceptable demands. An end to the war will allow Europe and the world to shift attention back to the many urgent challenges that need resolution.

We therefore once again call on Russia to stop its neo-colonial war against a sovereign member of the international community. Let us remember that if Russia stops fighting, there will be no more war, but if Ukrainians stop fighting, Ukraine will cease to exist. Ukraine did not chose war, Russia did.

Igor Driesmans, Ambassador of the EU;

Wilhelm M Donko, Ambassador of Austria;

Sibille de Cartier d’Yves, Ambassador of Belgium;

PavlinTodorov, Ambassador of Bulgaria;

Martha A Mavrommatis, Ambassador of Cyprus;

Jon Thorgaard, Ambassador of Denmark;

Jyri Jarviaho, Ambassador of Finland;

Jacques Pellet, Ambassador of France; 

Stefan Messerer, Ambassador of Germany;

Foivos Angeletos, Ambassador of Greece;

Paolo Dionisi, Ambassador of Italy;

Deirdre NiFhalluin, Ambassador of Ireland;

John Busuttil, Ambassador of Malta;

Remco van Wijngaarden, Ambassador of the Netherlands;

Artur Dmochowski, Ambassador of Poland;

Joao Bernardo Weinstein, Ambassador of Portugal;

Cristina Romila, Ambassador of Romania;

Felipe de la MorenaCasado, Ambassador of Spain;

Anna Hammargren, Ambassador of Sweden.

The views expressed in the article are those of the authors.