Following President Joe Biden’s historic visit to Ukraine earlier this week and his speech in Warsaw reaffirming United States, NATO and allied support for Ukraine’s fight to preserve its freedom, heritage and sovereignty, the White House provided a fact sheet reviewing new actions in support of Ukraine and to hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked invasion:
One year ago, Russia launched its brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The United States has rallied the world in response, working with our allies and partners to provide Ukraine with critical security, economic, and humanitarian assistance and leading unprecedented efforts to impose costs on Russia for its aggression. This week, President Biden visited Kyiv, Ukraine and Warsaw, Poland to send a clear and powerful message that the United States will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.
Today, on the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion, the United States is announcing a series of additional actions to continue providing Ukraine with the support it needs and holding Russia accountable for its war of aggression. A more comprehensive list of actions the U.S. has taken over the past year in response to Russia’s invasion is available HERE.
Support for Ukraine
Providing additional security assistance for Ukraine: Today, the Department of Defense (DoD) announced an additional security assistance package for Ukraine under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI). These capabilities include several new Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-UAS) equipment to strengthen Ukraine’s air defenses and help protect its people, and electronic warfare detection equipment to bolster Ukraine’s ability to repel Russia’s aggression. The package also includes a large amount of ammunition for 155mm artillery systems and High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) that have proved so effective on the battlefield, as well as mine clearing equipment and secure communications support equipment.
Earlier this week, the Biden Administration announced the 32nd security assistance package using Presidential Drawdown Authorities (PDA) for Ukraine, which included critical capabilities such as air surveillance radars to enhance Ukraine’s air defenses and Javelin anti-tank weapons that Ukraine has used to defend themselves on the battlefield. That PDA package will draw from existing U.S. stocks to help Ukraine fulfill its immediate battlefield needs, while today’s USAI package is part of the U.S. commitment to supporting Ukraine’s armed forces both now and over the longer-term.
Delivering needed economic support: This week, the United States began disbursing $9.9 billion in grant financing, thanks to the bipartisan support of Congress, to help Ukraine meet the critical needs of its citizens, including healthcare, education, and emergency services. This budget support is being disbursed via the World Bank’s Public Expenditures for Administrative Capacity Endurance (PEACE) mechanism on a reimbursement basis once expenses have been verified. Continued U.S. economic assistance has helped rally other international donors, including 2023 commitments from the European Commission, Japan, Canada, and the United Kingdom, to provide Ukraine with needed economic assistance. The G7 has increased its commitment of budget and economic support to Ukraine to $39 billion for 2023. Today, G7 Leaders asked Finance Ministers to continue engagement with the International Monetary Fund and Ukraine to deliver an ambitious program by the end of March 2023 and to continue working together, with the IMF and others for necessary budget support to Ukraine throughout and beyond 2023.
Strengthening Ukraine’s energy infrastructure: As part of our efforts to respond to Russia’s strikes against Ukraine’s critical energy infrastructure, the United States is preparing to deliver the Department of Energy’s third shipment of critical electrical transmission grid equipment to Ukraine by early March. The shipment will include several mobile generators to help provide back-up power. This delivery follows USAID’s recent provision of a mobile natural gas-fired turbine power plant that can generate enough electricity to power at least 100,000 Ukrainian homes.
Working with Congress, the Biden-Harris Administration also plans to provide up to $250 million in additional emergency energy assistance to Ukraine to help Ukraine further strengthen its grid in the face of Russia’s attacks. We also plan to provide up to $300 million in emergency energy assistance for Moldova, working with Congress, to increase local electric power generation, provide fiscal support, and improve interconnectivity between Moldova and the European Union.
Imposing Economic Costs on Russia
Securing major G7 commitments: G7 Leaders are convening today to announce a new set of economic commitments to hold Russia accountable for its war against Ukraine. To counter Russia’s attempt to circumvent G7 measures to date, Leaders will support the establishment of an Enforcement Coordination Mechanism, which will be chaired by the United States in the first year. To ensure Russia pays for Ukraine’s long-term reconstruction, G7 countries will continue to keep Russia’s sovereign assets immobilized until there is a resolution to the conflict that addresses Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and integrity. New commitments on imposing economic pressure measures against Russia’s energy, extractive, financial, and defense and industrial sectors also will be endorsed. The United States will swiftly implement these commitments by taking the below actions.
Imposing extensive sanctions on Russia’s economy: Today, in coordination with G7 partners and allies, the Departments of the Treasury and State will implement sweeping sanctions against key revenue generating sectors in order to further degrade Russia’s economy and diminish its ability to wage war against Ukraine. This will result in sanctions being imposed on over 200 individuals and entities, including both Russian and third-country actors across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East that are supporting Russia’s war effort. As part of this announcement, we will target a dozen Russian financial institutions, in alignment with allies and partners, as well as Russian officials and proxy authorities illegitimately operating in Ukraine. We will sanction additional actors tied to Russia’s defense and technology industry, including those responsible for backfilling Russian stocks of sanctioned items or enabling Russian sanctions evasion. It also includes the targeting of Russia’s future energy capabilities in a manner that does not impact current production to minimize market disruption. The United States also is expanding its sanctions authorities to Russia’s metals and mining sector, tailored to minimize market disruption.
Restricting exports to Russia: Today, the Department of Commerce will take several export control actions, listing nearly 90 Russian and third country companies, including in China among other countries, on the Entity List for engaging in sanction evasion and backfill activities in support of Russia’s defense sector. These listings will prohibit the targeted companies from purchasing items, such as semiconductors, whether made in the U.S. or with certain U.S. technology or software abroad. Commerce will also take action alongside G7 partners and allies to align measures on industrial machinery, luxury goods, and other items, as well as issue new restrictions to prevent components found in Iranian drones from making their way onto the battlefield in Ukraine.
Increasing tariffs on Russian products: Today, the President will sign proclamations to raise tariffs on certain Russian products imported to the United States, building on previous efforts to strip Russia of its international trade privileges. These measures are designed to target key Russian commodities generating revenue for the Kremlin while reducing U.S. reliance on Russia. These measures are carefully calibrated to impose costs on Russia while minimizing costs to U.S. consumers. Today’s action will result in increased tariffs on more than 100 Russian metals, minerals, and chemical products worth approximately $2.8 billion to Russia. It will also significantly increase costs for aluminum that was smelted or cast in Russia to enter the U.S. market in order to counter harm to the domestic aluminum industry, which is being squeezed by energy costs as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
These sanctions, export controls, and tariffs are part of our ongoing efforts to impose strong additional economic costs on Russia. We will continue to work with our allies and partners to use all economic tools available to us to disrupt Russia’s ability to wage its war and degrade its economy over time.
Holding Russia Accountable
Increasing use of accountability tools: This past week, Vice President Harris announced at the Munich Security Conference that the State Department has determined, following a careful analysis of the law and available facts, that members of Russia’s forces and other Russian officials have committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine. The United States and our partners are committed to holding those who are responsible for Russia’s attacks and atrocities against the people of Ukraine accountable — ensuring that perpetrators, human rights violators, and war criminals are brought to justice. We will continue to support a range of investigations into Russia’s atrocities, including by Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, through the United Nations, the Expert Missions established under the OSCE “Moscow Mechanism,” and the International Criminal Court among others. U.S. assistance is helping build the capacity of Ukraine’s domestic authorities to hold individuals accountable for war crimes and other atrocities and abuses.
Building support at the United Nations: This week, the United States has worked closely with allies and partners to rally 141 countries from every corner of the world to support a UN General Assembly resolution that underscores the need for a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in Ukraine — in line with the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity represented in the UN Charter. At an Emergency Special Session on February 22 and 23, an overwhelming number of Member States expressed their ongoing support for Ukraine. And today, exactly one year since the start of Russia’s brutal invasion, Secretary Blinken will reaffirm our unwavering commitment to Ukraine at a ministerial-level meeting of the UN Security Council on the “Maintenance of Peace and Security of Ukraine.”
Just days before the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Joe Biden made a historic visit to Ukraine and then delivered a speech in Warsaw recommitting United States, NATO and allied support for Ukraine, in an existential battle for freedom, democracy and sovereignty against Putin’s unprovoked, brutal assault. Here is a fact sheet from the White House listing the past year’s efforts to support Ukraine, which like David and Goliath, has managed to stand up to one of the strongest military forces on earth:
Nearly one year ago, Russia launched its unjust, brutal assault against Ukraine. Putin’s invasion was a test of Ukraine’s commitment to freedom, and a test for America and the world. Putin sought to subjugate Ukraine, but the free people of Ukraine stood strong—bravely defending their sovereignty and democracy. The United States, alongside our allies and partners, did not hesitate to stand with them.
Over the last year, the United States has provided critical support to the people of Ukraine, working in close coordination with the government of Ukraine to get them what they need. President Biden has spoken regularly with President Zelenskyy, hosting him at the White House and visiting Kyiv to send powerful messages of the United States’ unwavering support. We have led the world in providing security assistance—from the Javelins that halted the Russian tanks assaulting Kyiv, to the air defense systems that have intercepted Russian strikes against Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, to the armored vehicles that Ukraine needs for the next phase of this conflict. We also stepped up to provide financial and humanitarian assistance—helping Ukrainians maintain access to fundamental services, like healthcare and heat, as they fight for their liberty and sovereignty.
The United States has not acted alone. Since first exposing Russia’s plans to launch this invasion, we ensured that Ukraine’s resilience has been matched with global resolve. We rallied the international community to speak out and stand against Russia’s brutal war, including at the United Nations, where the world has repeatedly and overwhelmingly voted to condemn Russia’s aggression. We have led unprecedented efforts to isolate and impose costs on Russia—including the largest coordinated sanctions and export control actions taken against a major economy. In response to the global economic disruptions caused by the Kremlin, we have launched initiatives that have stabilized energy markets and food supplies. And we supported our partners as they opened their homes and communities to millions of Ukrainians seeking refuge.
One year ago, Putin thought he could quickly topple Ukraine. He thought he could divide our allies and partners. He was wrong. Ukraine still stands. The international coalition in support of Ukraine is stronger and more united than ever. And President Biden’s visit to Kyiv yesterday sent a clear and powerful message to the world: we remain committed to standing with the people of Ukraine for as long as it takes.
Actions we have taken to support Ukraine and hold Russia accountable over the last year include:
Over the past year, the United States and our allies and partners provided critical security assistance that made a real difference on the battlefield, and helped the people of Ukraine defend their country from Russian attacks and advances.
At the start of the war, the anti-armor and anti-air systems we provided—like the 8,000 Javelin and 1,600 Stingers—enabled Ukraine to win the Battle for Kyiv. The artillery and ammunition we have sent—such as the 160 howitzers and 38 High Mobility Artillery Rocket systems—enhanced Ukraine’s ability to defend its territory in the Donbas region and launch successful counteroffensives in Kharkiv and Kherson, reclaiming hundreds of kilometers of territory and liberating towns and villages subjected to unimaginable Russian brutality. The air defense systems and counter-drone capabilities that we provided help Ukraine protect its people and infrastructure against continued Russian attacks. The armored capabilities we are sending—including 109 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and tanks—will prepare Ukraine for future counteroffensives and help Ukraine adapt to changing conditions on the ground and defend against future Russian assaults.
We have provided more than one million rounds of artillery ammunition; more than 100,000 rounds of 125mm tank ammunition; and 100,000 rounds of small arms ammunition. We have provided helicopters; Unmanned Coastal Defense Vessels, and counter-UAV systems and equipment. And the Departments of Defense and State have released a plan to prevent and counter the potential of illicit diversion of weapons and equipment.
Working with European partners and Ukraine, the United States also launched the Ukraine Defense Contact Group—a coalition of 50 partner nations that has enhanced our coordination of security assistance deliveries to help the people of Ukraine as they continue to defend themselves against Russia’s unjust and unprovoked assault. Together, members of this group already committed $50 billion security assistance, including nearly 700 tanks and thousands of other armored vehicles, more than 1000 artillery systems, more than two million rounds of artillery ammunition, more than 50 advanced multiple rocket launch systems, and anti-ship and air defense systems.
A comprehensive list of security assistance is available here.
When Russia launched its invasion, the United States responded quickly to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine—providing more than $1.9 billion to Ukrainians in need of assistance, including more than 13 million people forced to flee their homes.
We brought together partners across the United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations to address Ukrainian’s critical needs—including food, safe drinking water, shelter, and emergency health care. When winter approached and Putin turned his assault to critical infrastructure, a U.S.-led coalition provided supplies to restore emergency power and heat across the country. In addition to welcoming over 267,000 Ukrainians who have been forced to flee their homes to the United States and creating the Uniting for Ukraine program, we have provided $340 million in refugee assistance to our European partners who continue to host millions of Ukrainians, representing the largest population outflow in Europe since World War II.
A comprehensive list of humanitarian assistance is available here.
Democracy, Human Rights, and Anti-Corruption Assistance
To defend human rights in Ukraine and its neighbors, President Biden launched the European Democratic Resilience Initiative (EDRI) in March 2022. Through EDRI, we have provided nearly $220 million for Ukraine to support media freedom and enable Ukrainian media outlets to continue operating during the war, to counter disinformation, increase the safety and security of activists and vulnerable groups, strengthen democratic and anti-corruption institutions, and support accountability for human rights abuses and violations of international law.
Holding Russia Accountable
Justice and accountability are central pillars of the United States’ policy on Ukraine. Russia chose this war, and the United States and our partners are holding it accountable for its attacks and atrocities against the people of Ukraine — ensuring that perpetrators, human rights violators, and war criminals are brought to justice.
Based on a careful analysis of the law and available facts, the Secretary of State recently determined that members of Russia’s forces and other Russian officials have committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine.
Working with partners, we have supported Ukrainian domestic authorities, international efforts, and strategic litigation to ensure that Russia’s crimes do not go unpunished. Along with many of our allies and partners, we imposed new sanctions on those engaged in human rights abuses and exercising illegitimate authority in occupied areas of Ukraine, including proxy authorities, military units, and those involved in the forced deportation of children.
The United States has also imposed expansive visa restrictions on members of the Russian military and others committing human rights abuses related to Russia’s war. The United States continues to support a range of international accountability mechanisms—including the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Moscow Mechanism, and the Joint Investigative Team on Ukraine.
Economic Measures Against Russia
The United States and over 30 allies and partners developed the largest set of sanctions and export control actions ever imposed on a major economy. These actions are disrupting Russia from accessing critical inputs and advanced technologies — undercutting its ability to fund and fight its unjust war.
The United States has implemented or expanded more than 2,000 sanctions listings and more than 375 export control Entity Listings, including major state-owned enterprises and third-country actors supporting Russia’s war machine. We imposed sanctions on Russia’s largest financial institutions and imposed increasingly expansive restrictions on military and industrial goods that could support Russia’s defense industrial base. As a result, Russia has been forced to turn to rogue regimes to try to source weapons and equipment because of their inability to make enough parts to resupply Putin’s war at home. Additionally, Congress has revoked Russia’s permanent normal trade relations status — removing Russia’s privileges in international trade and increasing tariffs on hundreds of Russia products imported into the United States.
These sanctions and export controls will cut even deeper into Russia’s economy as time progresses. And at the same time, our economic measures have been specifically designed to shield low- and middle-income countries from their impact — including protecting the exports of food, allowing the provision of humanitarian assistance, and carving out agriculture, medicine, and energy payments from our sanctions.
Energy Assistance and Security
When Russia attacked Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, trying to use winter as a weapon against the Ukrainian people, the United States and its allies and partners provided energy assistance: restoring power, heating homes, and enabling the people of Ukraine to focus on the defense of their sovereignty.
Together with our allies and partners, we provided critical electricity equipment to help Ukraine make emergency repairs to its power system and strengthen the stability of Ukraine’s grid in the face of Russia’s targeted attacks. We also worked with Ukraine to advance its energy transition and build a system decoupled from Russian energy. And we worked to stabilize global energy markets, limit Russia’s revenue, and blunt the impacts of Russia’s war on energy security. Through the U.S.-EU Task Force on Energy Security, we ensured Europe had enough gas for the winter. The United States also released 180 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, ensured international energy payments continue to flow under our sanctions, and implemented a G7+ price cap on seaborne Russian oil and petroleum products.
We also took steps to reduce nuclear risks posed by Russia’s reckless actions at and around Ukraine’s nuclear power plants to support energy infrastructure, including through training for emergency responders, radiation sensor monitoring, and the provision of emergency diesel fuel and other nuclear safety supplies.
The United States has disbursed $13 billion in grant financing for budget support for Ukraine —and will soon begin disbursing another $9.9 billion that Congress recently approved — to ensure the Ukrainian government can continue to meet the critical needs of its citizens and provide basic services as it confronts Russia’s continued aggression. Through the World Bank’s Public Expenditures for Administrative Capacity Endurance mechanism, the United States has used it to provide budget support on a reimbursement basis — ensuring funding is disbursed to Ukraine only after expenses have been verified.
In its leadership role in international financial institutions, the United States has also worked closely with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank Group, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to support Ukraine — including to strengthen energy security, food security, and support for vulnerable populations and internally displaced persons across the country. Together with the G7, we have launched the Multi-agency Donor Coordination Platform for Ukraine, to enhance our coordination of economic support for Ukraine’s immediate financing needs and future economic recovery and reconstruction efforts.
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the launch of a new website containing resources offered by New York State and its partners to help Ukrainian people and their friends and allies here in New York. This follows the Governor’s announcement warning consumers about scams and cybersecurity threats amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In an additional show of support, the Governor also announced the Ukrainian flag will be flown on the Capitol building, the Executive Mansion, and the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services headquarters.
“Ukraine’s resilience against Vladimir Putin’s tyranny is an inspiration to the rest of the world, and many New Yorkers are already doing their part to support humanitarian efforts,” Governor Hochul said. “In moments like these, New Yorkers always stand together to support those in need. We are proud to provide trusted resources for those who want to lend a helping hand for our Ukrainian brothers and sisters here in New York.”
This directive comes amid Governor Hochul’s ongoing efforts to support Ukraine. Last week, the Governor announced an Executive Order to prohibit state agencies and authorities from contracting with entities that continue to do business in Russia. In early March, Governor Hochul announced actions to strengthen the Department of Financial Services’ (DFS) enforcement of sanctions against Russia, including the expedited procurement of additional blockchain analytics technology. In February, Governor Hochul ordered all state agencies and authorities to divest public funds from Russia and stop doing business with Russian companies.
Resources available on the website include:
The Office for New Americans (ONA) provides a variety of free support services to all immigrants and refugees in New York State, regardless of status, such as:
Access to free legal support including asylum applications and deportation defense through its network of legal service providers
English language courses through its network of Opportunity Centers
Access to mental health support groups through its Golden Door Program
Workforce readiness tools including resume writing, digital literacy skills, and credentialing evaluation
Support to access developmental disability services through the ONA Ramirez June Initiative
Visit the Office of New Americans website here or contact their hotline at 1-800-566-7636. The NYS New Americans Hotline connects immigrants and refugees to free services across the state. The Hotline operates from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. All calls are confidential. Assistance is available in over 200 languages, including Ukrainian and Russian.
If you are a U.S. citizen in Ukraine, the U.S. State Department has resources for those wishing to depart. They also offer travel conditions and land border guidance for surrounding countries including Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Moldova.
U.S. citizens in Ukraine should complete this online form so that the State Department can communicate with you. U.S. citizens seeking to depart Ukraine can also call 1-833-741-2777 (in the United States) or 1-606-260-4379 (from overseas) for immediate assistance. You can also visit the Ukraine Crisis page on the State Department’s website here.
The Consulate General of Ukraine in New York is currently providing consular services. However, all consular services which require receiving documents from Ukraine, including issuance of new passports and visa services, have been suspended until further notice.
If you have visa or passport questions, you can contact the Consulate General by emailing [email protected] or calling either 212-371-6965 or 212-371-5690.
Ukrainians in New York and who are experiencing an emergency situation (e.g. detention), can call the Consulate’s hotline number at 917-325-1444 for assistance.
Protections may be available for eligible Ukrainians already present in the U.S. As a result of the Russian military invasion, the Department of Homeland Security announced the designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ukraine for 18 months. Individuals eligible for TPS under this designation must have continuously resided in the United States since March 1, 2022. Ukrainians eligible for TPS can contact the NYS New Americans Hotline for free legal assistance at 1-800-566-7636.
If you have recently been granted asylum, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, through contracted providers, offers free services to asylees across New York State.
Visit a provider in your area that can assist you with:
Free health screening and immunizations
Accessing other support services
Find a provider in your area here and learn more about refugee services and assistance for immigrants here.
If you need 24-Hour Phone Support: You can contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline by calling 1-800-985-5990. Callers can connect with counselors for support in 100+ languages via 3rd party interpretation, including in Ukrainian and Russian.
If you need a 24-hour Crisis Text Line: Text GOT5 to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor.
For 24-Hour Support for Deaf or hard of hearing American Sign Language users: The national Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH) is now offering direct crisis counseling and support for Deaf or hard of hearing American Sign Language users via a dedicated videophone option. Disaster survivors and responders can connect with trained DDH crisis workers fluent in ASL by dialing 1-800-985-5990 from a videophone-enabled device or via an “ASL Now” link which can be accessed at DisasterDistress.samhsa.gov.
Avoid donation scams. Anytime disasters occur, scam artists prey on the heartstrings of individuals looking to help. The invasion of Ukraine provides an opportunity for fraudsters to set up fake charities or pose as compelling war victims. Others design websites to mimic a legitimate charity’s official site to steal unsuspecting donors’ money and/or personal information.
To prevent donation money from falling into the wrong hands, the New York State Division of Consumer Protection recommends taking the following precautions:
Verify the request. Scammers are more frequently posing as friends, family or romantic interests on social media and requesting donations. If you receive an unsolicited request for donation relief online, even if it appears to be someone you know, connect with the person directly through a different communication link to verify the request. Do not click on any links or complete forms before verifying the source. If the request is coming from someone you only recently met online, it is most likely a scam and you should be especially wary.
Research the charity. Don’t rely on a charity website alone. Search online before donating to any charity using the name of the group plus search terms like “review” and “scam”. The Federal Trade Commission recommends checking with give.org, charitynavigator.org, charitywatch.org, or candid.org to see reports and ratings for charities. You can also check with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for verification that a charity is registered. The Office of the Attorney General also recommends reviewing the Charities Registry for financial reports prior to donating to ensure the charity is fiscally sound.
Resist high-pressure tactics. While the situation is urgent, consumers should resist being pressured to donate immediately. Scammers often pressure you to donate immediately, causing you to overlook red flags in their story. Beware of direct e-mails from “victims” and solicitors who employ heart-wrenching stories, insisting that you donate immediately. Do not to give money over the phone to unsolicited telemarketers; instead, ask the caller to send written materials about the charity and where to donate, if you choose.
Keep personal information private. Never give your Social Security number, credit card or debit card number, or other personal identifying information in response to an unsolicited charitable request. If donating online, ensure that your internet connection is secure before following through on donation requests.
Ask how your money will be spent. Consumers want to know that their money is going directly to the victims. A genuine charity should be able to let you know how much of your donation will go directly to the program as opposed to administrative fees.
Donate by check or credit card. Never give money using cash, gift cards, crypto currency, or any tender that would be difficult to trace. Give your contribution by check or credit card to ensure that you have a record of the donation. Make checks out to the charity, not to an individual. If you choose to donate via a charity’s website, check that the website is secure and that your computer is equipped with the latest anti-virus protection.
If you suspect that you have encountered a fraudulent attempt to receive donations, you can file a complaint with the New York State Division of Consumer Protection here.
The Division’s Consumer Assistance Hotline is open Monday to Friday, excluding State holidays, 8:30am to 4:30pm at 1-800-697-1220. You can find more information and tips by following the Division of Consumer Protection on social media on Twitter (@NYSConsumer) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/nysconsumer).
Show Your Support
Show your support through the use of New York-branded social media graphics for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Instagram Story. You can also spread the word about how to show support to the humanitarian response through the social media toolkit here.
Today, in response to Vladimir Putin increasing hostilities against Ukraine, deploying Russian forces into Ukraine and giving a speech in which the Russian President dismissed Ukraine’s right to exist as a free and sovereign nation, President Joe Biden issued a tranche of new sanctions.
“Who in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives him the right to declare new so-called countries on territory that belonged to his neighbors? This is a flagrant violation of international law, and it demands a firm response from the international community…. He directly attacked Ukraine’s right to exist. He indirectly threatened territory formerly held by Russia, including nations that today are thriving democracies and members of NATO. He explicitly threatened war unless his extreme demands were met. And there is no question that Russia is the aggressor. So we’re clear-eyed about the challenges we’re facing.“
Here is a transcript of his remarks:
Yesterday, Vladimir Putin recognized two regions of Ukraine as independent states and he bizarrely asserted that these regions are no longer part of Ukraine and their sovereign territory. To put it simply, Russia just announced that it is carving out a big chunk of Ukraine.
Last night, Putin authorized Russian forces to deploy into the region — these regions. Today, he asserted that these regions are — actually extend deeper than the two areas he recognized, claiming large areas currently under the jurisdiction of the Ukraine government.
He’s setting up a rationale to take more territory by force, in my view. And if we listen to his speech last night — and many of you did, I know — he’s — he’s setting up a rationale to go much further.
This is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, as he indicated and asked permission to be able to do from his Duma.
I’m going to begin to impose sanctions in response, far beyond the steps we and our Allies and partners implemented in 2014. And if Russia goes further with this invasion, we stand prepared to go further as — with sanction.
Who in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives him the right to declare new so-called countries on territory that belonged to his neighbors? This is a flagrant violation of international law, and it demands a firm response from the international community.
Over the last few months, we have coordinated closely with our NATO Allies and partners in Europe and around the world to prepare that response. We’ve said all along and I’ve told Putin to his face more than a month ago that we would act together and the moment Russia moved against Ukraine.
Russia has now undeniably moved against Ukraine by declaring these independent states.
So, today, I’m announcing the first tranche of sanctions to impose costs on Russia in response to their actions yesterday. These have been closely coordinated with our Allies and partners, and we’ll continue to escalate sanctions if Russia escalates.
We’re implementing full blocking sanctions on two large Russian financial institutions: V.E.B. and their military bank.
We’re implementing comprehensive sanctions on Russian sovereign debt. That means we’ve cut off Russia’s government from Western financing. It can no longer raise money from the West and cannot trade in its new debt on our markets or European markets either.
Starting tomorrow [today] and continuing in the days ahead, we will also impose sanctions on Russia’s elites and their family members. They share in the corrupt gains of the Kremlin policies and should share in the pain as well.
And because of Russia’s actions, we’ve worked with Germany to ensure Nord Stream 2 will not — as I promised — will not move forward.
As Russia contemplates its next move, we have our next move prepared as well. Russia will pay an even steeper price if it continues its aggression, including additional sanctions.
The United States will continue to provide defensive assistance to Ukraine in the meantime. And we’ll continue to reinforce and reassure our NATO Allies.
Today, in response to Russia’s admission that it will not withdraw its forces from Belarus, I have authorized additional movements of U.S. forces and equipment already stationed in Europe to strengthen our Baltic Allies — Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
Let me be clear: These are totally defensive moves on our part. We have no intention of fighting Russia. We want to send an unmistakable message, though, that the United States, together with our Allies, will defend every inch of NATO territory and abide by the commitments we made to NATO.
We still believe that Russia is poised to go much further in launching a massive military attack against Ukraine. I hope I’m wrong about that — hope we’re wrong about that. But Russia has only escalated its threat against the rest of Ukrainian territory, including major cities and including the capital city of Kyiv.
There are still well over 150,000 Russian troops surrounding Ukraine. And as I said, Russian forces remain positioned in Belarus to attack Ukraine from the north, including war planes and offensive missile systems.
Russia has moved troops closer to Ukraine’s border with Russia. Russia’s naval vessels are maneuvering in the Black Sea to Ukraine’s south, including amphibious assault ships, missile cruisers, and submarines.
Russia has moved supplies of blood and medical equipment into position on their border. You don’t need blood unless you plan on starting a war.
And over the last few days, we’ve seen much of the playbook that Secretary Blinken laid out last week at the United Nations Security Council come to pass: a major increase in military provocations and false-flag events along the line of contact in the Donbas; dramatically staged, conveniently on-camera meeting of Putin’s Security Council to grandstand for the Russian public; and now political provocation of recognizing sovereign Ukrainian territory as so-called independent republics in clear violation, again, of international law.
President Putin has sought authorization from the Russian parliament to use military force outside of Russian territory. And this set the stage for further pretexts and further provocations by Russia to try to justify further military action.
None of us — none of us should be fooled. None of us will be fooled. There is no justification.
Further Russian assault into Ukraine remains a severe threat in the days ahead. And if Russia proceeds, it is Russia, and Russia alone, that bears the responsibility.
As we respond, my administration is using every tool at our disposal to protect American businesses and consumers from rising prices at the pump. As I said last week, defending freedom will have costs for us as well, here at home. We need to be honest about that.
But as we do this, I’m going to take robust action and make sure the pain of our sanctions is targeted at the Russian economy, not ours.
We are closely monitoring energy supplies for any disruption. We’re executing a plan in coordination with major oil-producing consumers and producers toward a collective investment to secure stability and global energy supplies.
This will be — this will blunt gas prices. I want to limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump. This is critical to me.
In the last few days, I have been in constant contact with European leaders, including with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. Vice President Harris met in person with leaders in Germany over the weekend at the Munich Conference, including President Zelenskyy.
At every step, we have shown that the United States and our Allies and partners are working in unison — which he hasn’t been counting on — Mr. Putin. We’re united in our support of Ukraine. We’re united in our opposition to Russian aggression. And we’re united in our resolve to defend our NATO Alliance. And we’re united in our understanding of the urgency and seriousness of the threat Russia is making to global peace and stability.
Yesterday, the world heard clearly the full extent of Vladimir Putin’s twisted rewrite of history, going back more than a century, as he waxed eloquently, noting that — well, I’m not going to go into it, but nothing in Putin’s lengthy remarks indicated any interest in pursuing real dialogue on European security in the year 2022.
He directly attacked Ukraine’s right to exist. He indirectly threatened territory formerly held by Russia, including nations that today are thriving democracies and members of NATO. He explicitly threatened war unless his extreme demands were met.
And there is no question that Russia is the aggressor. So we’re clear-eyed about the challenges we’re facing.
Nonetheless, there is still time to avert the worst-case scenario that will bring untold suffering to millions of people if they move as suggested.
The United States and our Allies and partners remain open to diplomacy if it is serious. When all is said and done, we’re going to judge Russia by its actions, not its words.
And whatever Russia does next, we’re ready to respond with unity, clarity, and conviction.
We’ll probably have more to say about this as we — if it moves on. I’m hoping diplomacy is still available.
FACT SHEET: United States Imposes First Tranche of Swift and Severe Costs on Russia
U.S. joined by Allies and partners to hold Putin accountable; Will impose additional costs if Russia goes further with this invasion
Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin of Russia recognized two regions of Ukraine as independent states and today claimed that recognition to include all of the Donbas region. The Russian Parliament also authorized the deployment of additional Russian forces into this Ukrainian territory.
As President Biden and our Allies and partners have made clear, we will impose significant costs on Russia for Russia’s actions. Today, the Administration is implementing the first tranche of sanctions that go far beyond 2014, in coordination with allies and partners in the European Union, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and Australia. And as President Biden promised, we worked with Germany to ensure the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will not move forward.
The President has directed the following measures:
Full blocking sanctions on two significant Russian financial institutions. The Secretary of the Treasury will impose full blocking sanctions on two large state-owned Russian financial institutions that provide key services crucial to financing the Kremlin and the Russian military: Vnesheconombank and Promsvyazbank and their subsidiaries. Collectively, these institutions hold more than $80 billion in assets and finance the Russian defense sector and economic development. These measures will freeze their assets in the United States, prohibit U.S. individuals and businesses from doing any transactions with them, shut them out of the global financial system, and foreclose access to the U.S. dollar.
Expanded sovereign debt prohibitions restricting U.S. individuals and firms from participation in secondary markets for new debt issued by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation. These prohibitions will cut off the Russian government from a key avenue by which it raises capital to fund its priorities and will increase future financing costs. It denies Russia access to key U.S. markets and investors.
Full blocking sanctions on five Russian elites and their family members: Aleksandr Bortnikov (and his son, Denis), Sergei Kiriyenko (and his son, Vladimir), and Promsvyazbank CEO Petr Fradkov. These individuals and their relatives directly benefit from their connections with the Kremlin. Other Russian elites and their family members are on notice that additional actions could be taken against them.
Today,the Secretary of the Treasury will determine that any institution in the financial services sector of the Russian Federation economy is a target for further sanctions. Over 80% of Russia’s daily foreign exchange transactions globally are in U.S. dollars and roughly half of Russia’s international trade is conducted in dollars. With this action, no Russian financial institution is safe from our measures, including the largest banks.
These actions come in addition to steps being taken by our Allies and partners and represent our first response to Russia’s actions. As President Biden made clear, Russia will pay an even steeper price if it continues its aggression
The text of the following statement was released by the G7 foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union.
We, the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America and the High Representative of the European Union, remain gravely concerned about Russia’s threatening military build-up around Ukraine, in illegally annexed Crimea and in Belarus. Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified massing of military forces, the largest deployment on the European continent since the end of the Cold War is a challenge to global security and the international order.
We call on Russia to choose the path of diplomacy, to de-escalate tensions, to substantively withdraw military forces from the proximity of Ukraine’s borders and to fully abide by international commitments including on risk reduction and transparency of military activities. As a first step, we expect Russia to implement the announced reduction of its military activities along Ukraine’s borders. We have seen no evidence of this reduction. We will judge Russia by its deeds.
We took note of Russia’s latest announcements that it is willing to engage diplomatically. We underline our commitment vis-à-vis Russia to pursue dialogue on issues of mutual concern, such as European security, risk reduction, transparency, confidence building and arms control. We also reiterate our commitment to find a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the current crisis, and we urge Russia to take up the offer of dialogue through the US-Russia Strategic Stability Dialogue, the NATO-Russia Council, and the OSCE. We commend the Renewed OSCE European Security Dialogue launched by the Polish OSCE Chairmanship-in-Office and express our strong hope that Russia will engage in a constructive way.
Any threat or use of force against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of states goes against the fundamental principles that underpin the rules-based international order as well as the European peace and security order enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act, the Paris Charter and other subsequent OSCE declarations. While we are ready to explore diplomatic solutions to address legitimate security concerns, Russia should be in no doubt that any further military aggression against Ukraine will have massive consequences, including financial and economic sanctions on a wide array of sectoral and individual targets that would impose severe and unprecedented costs on the Russian economy. We will take coordinated restrictive measures in case of such an event.
We reaffirm our solidarity with the people of Ukraine and our support to Ukraine’s efforts to strengthen its democracy and institutions, encouraging further progress on reform. We consider it of utmost importance to help preserve the economic and financial stability of Ukraine and the well-being of its people. Building on our assistance since 2014, we are committed to contribute, in close coordination with Ukraine’s authorities to support the strengthening of Ukraine’s resilience.
We reiterate our unwavering commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders and territorial waters. We reaffirm the right of any sovereign state to determine its own future and security arrangements. We commend Ukraine’s posture of restraint in the face of continued provocations and efforts at destabilization.
We underline our strong appreciation and continued support for Germany’s and France’s efforts through the Normandy Process to secure the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements, which is the only way forward for a lasting political solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine. We acknowledge public statements by President Zelensky underlining Ukraine’s firm commitment to the Minsk Agreements and his readiness to contribute constructively to the process. Ukrainian overtures merit serious consideration by Russian negotiators and by the Government of the Russian Federation. We call on Russia to seize the opportunity which Ukraine’s proposals represent for the diplomatic path.
Russia must de-escalate and fulfil its commitments in implementing the Minsk Agreements. The increase in ceasefire violations along the line of contact in recent days is highly concerning. We condemn the use of heavy weaponry and indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas, which constitute a clear violation of the Minsk Agreements. We also condemn that the Russian Federation continues to hand out Russian passports to the inhabitants of the non-government controlled areas of Ukraine. This clearly runs counter to the spirit of the Minsk agreements.
We are particularly worried by measures taken by the self-proclaimed “People’s Republics” which must be seen as laying the ground for military escalation. We are concerned that staged incidents could be used as a pretext for possible military escalation. Russia must use its influence over the self-proclaimed republics to exercise restraint and de-escalate.
In this context, we firmly express our support for the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission, whose observers play a key role in de-escalation efforts. This mission must be allowed to carry out its full mandate without restrictions to its activities and freedom of movement to the benefit and security of the people in eastern Ukraine.
I feel so much more secure with President Joe Biden managing the Russia crisis – it’s threat to invade Ukraine. Russia is threatening the worst violence in Europe since World War II, and this bit of brinksmanship is the worst since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Biden is using just the right measure of carrots and sticks and showing extraordinary leadership in keeping the allies together, on the same page. Putin miscalculated Biden, incorrectly assessing the Afghanistan exit as weakness and lack of resolve instead of fortitude and competence (the largest air lift in that short amount of time remarkably). In his speech, Biden spoke directly to Americans and the allies in stating the importance in defending democracy and Ukraine’s self-determination and sovereignty against Russian imperialistic, autocratic aggression, recognizing that just like Chamberlain and Hitler, appeasement (as after Russia invaded Georgia and then took Crimea), would not stop with Ukraine.
Biden spoke directly to the Russian people, too, noting that they are not the enemy, but Putin acting out of ego and selfish obsession with power, putting their lives and economy at risk. He was firm and clear about what Russia would face if Putin stepped a foot into Ukraine territory – releasing declassified intel to take away Putin’s ability to mount a false-flag operation or cyberattack. And he spoke to Americans as well, to prepare us for the fall-out – such as higher energy prices. Preserving democracy has a cost, he said, while giving assurances his administration was doing what it could to mitigate the bad impacts. And he has been on top of the planning – with table-top exercises to react to whatever happens.
He was firm that while he is interested in a diplomatic, rather than military, solution, he has no interest in appeasement.
Imagine if Trump were in the Oval Office – he’d shut down NATO, shut down United Nations and give his puppetmaster a green light (What did Trump react to, today? His accounting firm, Mazar’s, firing the Trump Organization as a client, saying they couldn’t vouch for the reliability of its tax returns from 2011-2020.)
Here’s a highlighted transcript of Biden’s speech—Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. Today, I’d like to provide an update on the crisis involving Russia and Ukraine.
From the beginning of this crisis, I have been absolutely clear and consistent: The United States is prepared no matter what happens.
We are ready with diplomacy — to be engaged in diplomacy with Russia and our Allies and partners to improve stability and security in Europe as a whole.
And we are ready to respond decisively to a Russian attack on Ukraine, which is still very much a possibility.
Through all of the events of the last few weeks and months, this has been our approach. And it remains our approach now.
So, today I want to speak to the American people about the situation on the ground, the steps we’ve taken, the actions we’re prepared to take, and what’s at stake for us and the world, and how this may impact on us here at home.
For weeks now, together with our Allies and partners, my administration has engaged in non-stop diplomacy.
This weekend I spoke again with President Putin to make clear that we are ready to keep pursuing high-level diplomacy to reach written understandings among Russia, the United States, and the nations of Europe to address legitimate security concerns if that’s what — his wish. Their security concerns and ours.
President Putin and I agreed that our teams should continue to engage toward this end along with our European Allies and partners.
Yesterday, the Russian government publicly proposed to continue the diplomacy. I agree. We should give the diplomacy every chance to succeed. I believe there are real ways to address our respective security concerns.
The United States has put on the table concrete ideas to establish a security environment in Europe.
We’re proposing new arms control measures, new transparency measures, new strategic stability measures. These measures would apply to all parties — NATO and Russia alike.
And we’re willing to make practical, results-oriented steps that can advance our common security. We will not sacrifice basic principles, though.
Nations have a right to sovereignty and territorial integrity. They have the freedom to set their own course and choose with whom they will associate.
But that still leaves plenty of room for diplomacy and for de-escalation. That’s the best way forward for all parties, in our view. And we’ll continue our diplomatic efforts in close consultation with our Allies and our partners.
As long as there is hope of a diplomatic resolution that prevents the use of force and avoids the incredible human suffering that would follow, we will pursue it.
The Russian Defense Ministry reported today that some military units are leaving their positions near Ukraine.
That would be good, but we have not yet verified that. We have not yet verified that Russian military units are returning to their home bases. Indeed, our analysts indicate that they remain very much in a threatening position. And the fact remains: Right now, Russia has more than 150,000 troops encircling Ukraine in Belarus and along Ukraine’s border.
An invasion remains distinctly possible. That’s why I’ve asked several times that all Americans in Ukraine leave now before it’s too late to leave safely. It is why we have temporarily relocated our embassy from Kyiv to Lviv in western Ukraine, approaching the Polish border.
And we’ve been transparent with the American people and with the world about Russia’s plans and the seriousness of the situation so that everyone can see for themselves what is happening. We have shared what we know and what we are doing about it.
Let me be equally clear about what we are not doing:
The United States and NATO are not a threat to Russia. Ukraine is not threatening Russia.
Neither the U.S. nor NATO have missiles in Ukraine. We do not — do not have plans to put them there as well.
We’re not targeting the people of Russia. We do not seek to destabilize Russia.
To the citizens of Russia: You are not our enemy. And I do not believe you want a bloody, destructive war against Ukraine — a country and a people with whom you share such deep ties of family, history, and culture.
Seventy-seven years ago, our people fought and sacrificed side by side to end the worst war in history.
World War Two was a war of necessity. But if Russia attacks Ukraine, it would be a war of choice, or a war without cause or reason.
I say these things not to provoke but to speak the truth — because the truth matters; accountability matters.
If Russia does invade in the days or weeks ahead, the human cost for Ukraine will be immense, and the strategic cost for Russia will also be immense.
If Russia attacks Ukraine, it’ll be met with overwhelming international condemnation. The world will not forget that Russia chose needless death and destruction.
Invading Ukraine will prove to be a self-inflicted wound.
The United States and our Allies and partners will respond decisively. The West is united and galvanized.
Today, our NATO Allies and the Alliance is as unified and determined as it has ever been. And the source of our unbreakable strength continues to be the power, resilience, and universal appeal of our shared democratic values.
Because this is about more than just Russia and Ukraine. It’s about standing for what we believe in, for the future we want for our world, for liberty — for liberty, the right of countless countries to choose their own destiny, and the right of people to determine their own futures, for the principle that a country can’t change its neighbor’s borders by force. That’s our vision. And toward that end, I’m confident that vision, that freedom will prevail.
If Russia proceeds, we will rally the world to oppose its aggression.
The United States and our Allies and partners around the world are ready to impose powerful sanctions on [and] export controls, including actions we did not pursue when Russia invaded Crimea and eastern Ukraine in 2014. We will put intense pressure on their largest and most significant financial institutions and key industries. These measures are ready to go as soon and if Russia moves. We’ll impose long-term consequences that will undermine Russia’s ability to compete economically and strategically.
And when it comes to Nord Stream 2, the pipeline that would bring natural gas from Russia to Germany, if Russia further invades Ukraine, it will not happen.
While I will not send American servicemen to fight Russia in Ukraine, we have supplied the Ukrainian military with equipment to help them defend themselves. We have provided training and advice and intelligence for the same purpose.
And make no mistake: The United States will defend every inch of NATO territory with the full force of American power. An attack against one NATO country is an attack against all of us. And the United States commitment to Article 5 is sacrosanct.
Already, in response to Russia’s build-up of troops, I have sent additional U.S. forces to bolster NATO’s eastern flank.
Several of our Allies have also announced they’ll add forces and capabilities to ensure deterrence and defense along NATO’s eastern flank.
We will also continue to conduct military exercises with our Allies and partners to enhance defensive readiness.
And if Russia invades, we will take further steps to reinforce our presence in NATO, reassure for our Allies, and deter further aggression.
This is a cause that unites Republicans and Democrats. And I want to thank the leaders and members of Congress of both parties who have forcefully spoken out in defense of our most basic, most bipartisan, most American principles.
I will not pretend this will be painless. There could be impact on our energy prices, so we are taking active steps to alleviate the pressure on our own energy markets and offset rising prices.
We’re coordinating with major energy consumers and producers. We’re prepared to deploy all the tools and authority at our disposal to provide relief at the gas pump.
And I will work with Congress on additional measures to help protect consumers and address the impact of prices at the pump.
We are not seeking direct confrontation with Russia, though I have been clear that if Russia targets Americans in Ukraine, we will respond forcefully.
And if Russia attacks the United States or our Allies through asymmetric means, like disruptive cyberattacks against our companies or critical infrastructure, we are prepared to respond.
We’re moving in lockstep with our NATO Allies and partners to deepen our collective defense against threats in cyberspace. Two paths are still open. For the sake of the historic responsibility Russia and the United States share for global stability, for the sake of our common future — to choose diplomacy.
But let there be no doubt: If Russia commits this breach by invading Ukraine, responsible nations around the world will not hesitate to respond.
If we do not stand for freedom where it is at risk today, we’ll surely pay a steeper price tomorrow.
The UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2378 (2017) to reform United Nations peacekeeping operations (such as the famed Blue Helmets), that the principle of the “primacy of politics” — including through mediation, ceasefire monitoring and assisting in the implementation of peace accords — should be the hallmark of the United Nations approach to resolving conflict.
United States Vice President Mike Pence who gave remarks to the Council, held up his hand to vote in favor of the resolution. The US has been arguing in favor of reforming operations and finances of UN operations.
The Council noted that the prevention of conflict remained a primary responsibility of States, and actions undertaken within the framework of conflict prevention by the Organization should support and complement conflict-prevention roles of national Governments. It also reaffirmed the duty of all States to settle international disputes by peaceful means, and recognized that the good offices of the Secretary-General could help resolve conflict.
The Council took note of the Secretary-General’s initiatives to pursue the structural reform of the Secretariat to reinforce the United Nations peace and security architecture. It also underlined the importance of adequate implementation and follow up of peacekeeping reform in accordance with existing mandates and procedures.
The Council requested that the Secretary-General provide a comprehensive annual briefing to the 15-nation organ on reform of United Nations peacekeeping every 12 months to be followed by a debate. It also underscored the need to enhance the efficiency of United Nations peacekeeping by improving mission planning and increasing the number of relevant pledges of capabilities.
By other terms, the Council reiterated that regional organizations have the responsibility to secure human, financial, logistical and other resources for their organizations, and recognized that ad hoc and unpredictable financing arrangements for African Union-led peace support operations authorized by the Security Council and consistent with Chapter VIII of the Charter may impact the effectiveness of those peace support operations.
The Council also requested that the Secretary-General, in coordination with the African Union, should present in his next Report on Strengthening the Partnership between the United Nations and the African Union on Issues of Peace and Security in Africa, including the Work of the United Nations Office to the African Union, a reporting framework that would establish clear, consistent and predictable reporting channels, including fiduciary and mandate delivery, between the Secretariat, the Commission and the two Councils, as well as standardized reporting requirements.
Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia, Council President for September, said the 15-nation organ should send a clear message of support for peacekeeping reform efforts. Practical steps, such as forging new partnerships, were critical as the Organization could not deal with emerging challenges to peace alone.
Vice-President Michael R. Pence of the United States also called for fundamental reforms to peacekeeping, saying that, when a mission succeeded, its work should not be prolonged, and that those not fulfilling Council mandates should be closed. He spent much of his remarks re-stating points that President Donald Trump had made in his address to the General Assembly the day before.
Speaking about current world events, he noted the issues surrounding the terrorist attacks occurring in Europe as well as the ballistic missile deployments of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. He added that, if the United States was forced to defend itself and its allies, it would do so “with military power that is effective and overwhelming,” repeating the points Trump had made.
Sergey V. Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, said that his country believed settling conflicts must be through political processes, including using national dialogue. “Blue Helmets” should only be deployed with the permission of the relevant State and, given the use of intelligence units in peacekeeping, how information was controlled and maintained must be closely examined.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko was largely ignored in his pleas for UN peacekeeping assistance to stave off Russian Federation’s aggression that had caused tens of thousands of casualties and the displacement of some 1.8 million people. He reaffirmed his request to the Council to deploy a United Nations operation and obtain a withdrawal of all foreign personnel from his country to restore its sovereignty.
President Kersti Kaljulaid of Estonia emphasized the benefits of reforms, pointing out that research proved that peacekeeping operations not only reduced the numbers of civilians killed, but were ultimately cost effective. The United Nations peacekeeping budget was less than 0.5 per cent of global military spending, and that figure was shared among all 193 Member States.
Several delegations, including those of Sweden and the United Kingdom, stressed the importance of the inclusion of women in peacekeeping. Prime Minister Stefan Löfven of Sweden said that 70 years of peacekeeping had shown that the full, equal and active participation of women was vital to its success. Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom underscored the importance of including women in peacekeeping operations, as well as providing all troops with the equipment needed.
Tarō Kōno, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, also highlighted the importance of women in peacekeeping, as well as youth, given that those most affected by conflicts were women and children. Japan had plans to host an outreach seminar to encourage the promotion of women to mission leadership positions.
President Jacob Zuma of South Africa underscored the progress made through the partnership of the African Union with the United Nations, noting the importance of predictable financing for the Union that was authorized by the Council. The Union’s Peace Fund should also be reinvigorated to spur its work on mediation and preventative diplomacy. Wang Yi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of China, said that the Council should develop a way to finance African Union operations.
Speaking before the resolution’s adoption, Secretary-General António Guterres said that peacekeeping was a highly cost-effective instrument. The United Nations was often the sole party to act in peace operations, addressing urgent situations while contributing to long-term solutions. However, reform was needed and that would require the Organization make several critical shifts, the first being the recognition of the primacy of politics. Peace operations should be deployed in support of active diplomatic efforts, rather than as a substitute, he said. In addition, if the Organization was more effective at prevention, it could reduce the danger faced by colleagues in uniform. Peace operations, he noted, should be prepared, with better mobility, equipment and intelligence.
Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, said that the Council debate provided the chance to examine financing approaches and bolster the partnership with the United Nations. The Union’s peace operations should be supported through United Nations assessed contributions, he said, noting that sustainable financing was essential for sustainable solutions. For that reason, judicious decisions about individual missions such as Mali and the Central African Republic should be made to ensure a fair approach to financing.
José Ramos-Horta, Chair of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations, noted that the current Secretary-General had made a commitment to prevention, as well as the “surge of diplomacy”. That had been reflected in his insistence on a system-wide commitment to that prevention. The three peace and security reviews of peace operations all converged on that need for conflict prevention. The United Nations should invest in its own capacities for prevention and mediation and those core functions should be funded through the Organization’s regular budget. Furthermore, the Council’s decisions in mandating peace operations based on such planning and reviews should always reflect the primacy of politics, he said, hoping the Council would be stronger in its insistence upon and support for the political strategies that peace operations were deployed to pursue.
Also speaking today were Heads of State and Government, as well as other high-level officials from Senegal, Egypt, Ukraine, Italy, Kazakhstan, France, Uruguay, Indonesia, Nepal, Norway and Lithuania. The representative of Bolivia also spoke.
The meeting began at 10:07 a.m. and ended at 1:33 p.m.
ANTÓNIO GUTERRES, Secretary-General of the United Nations, thanked Ethiopia for being at the frontline of some of the most challenging peacekeeping missions of the United Nations. The Security Council was gathered today to fortify that flagship activity. Fifty-five peacekeeping missions had successfully completed their mandates, while four were soon to close. A smooth transition in those missions was crucial. Peacekeeping, he noted, was a highly cost-effective instrument. The United Nations was often the sole party to act in peace operations, addressing urgent situations while contributing to long-term solutions.
The United Nations must make several critical shifts, he said. It must recognize the primacy of politics so that peace operations were deployed in support of active diplomatic efforts, and not as a substitute. If the Organization did better on prevention, it could reduce the dangerous demands on colleagues in uniforms. Peace operations should be properly prepared, with more mobility, better equipment, enhanced training and intelligence. They should also embody United Nations values, and sexual exploitation and abuse must be stamped out. Member States were now certifying, prior to deployment, that none of their personnel had a prior history of misconduct, and the Organization had just appointed its first victims’ rights advocate. The partnership with the African Union, with African States assuming important responsibilities for their continent, was key, as was working with the European Union.
Peacekeeping forces were not supposed to perform counter-terrorism tasks, he said, and complementarity between United Nations and regional organizations was key. Clarity of mandates and adequate funding was vital to peacekeeping work. In the coming months, the implementation of reforms would move forward, as the Organization worked to adapt peacekeeping operations to meet old and new tests alike.
MOUSSA FAKI MAHAMAT, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, said the debate provided an opportunity to examine financing approaches and bolster the partnership with the United Nations. Given their unique position, African Union peace operations should be supported through United Nations-assessed contributions, he said, emphasizing that sustainable solutions required sustainable financing. Decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis resulting from joint analyses of each situation, he said, adding that “our institutional credibility is at stake”. Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter highlighted the role of regional organizations in maintaining international peace and security.
With that in mind, judicious decisions about missions must be made, he said, pointing to recent examples in Mali and the Central African Republic. Taking such an approach to financing was “not a matter of charity, but of fairness”, he said, calling on the Security Council to make decisions that encouraged the notable progress of the African Union and its member States. Reaffirming the importance of the strategic partnership between the African Union and the United Nations through a resolution on the principle of financing, he said “we must cut the red tape that hampers us from achieving the desired results”.
JOSÉ RAMOS-HORTA, Chair of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations, said that his report’s recommendations had been well received by Member States. The document included recommendations from people from many walks of life, from police officers who saw war up close to community leaders and activists who lived amid conflicts. He acknowledged the extent to which former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had embraced the recommendations, and the consideration they had been given by the General Assembly and the Security Council. But the essential shifts advocated by the Panel remained to be achieved.
The three peace and security reviews of peace operations, peacebuilding architecture and the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda, converged on the crucial need for more effective conflict prevention and for working to sustain peace before, during and after conflict, he noted. The current Secretary-General had made a strong commitment to prevention and the necessary “surge of diplomacy”, which was reflected in his insistence on an integrated system-wide commitment to prevention. National leaders and stakeholders had the primary responsibility to prevent conflicts and engage in mediation, and the Organization should seek to support local and regional prevention and mediation partners. The report emphasized that the United Nations should invest in its own capacities for prevention and mediation and in its capacity to help others. Those core functions should be funded through the Organization’s regular budget.
Former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had asked the Panel to review peace operations, not peacekeeping missions alone, he noted. That should lead to a continuum of responses and smoother transitions between different phases of missions. The proposals for restructuring the peace and security pillar that Secretary-General Guterres had now outlined met the Panel’s two most major concerns. The management of both peacekeeping operations and large field-based special political missions by the same department would enable situation-specific responses tailored to context and smoother transitions as those contexts evolved. The single political-operational structure under regional Assistant Secretaries-General that would link the two reconfigured departments would not only overcome duplication and rivalry, but would also ensure that peace operations were designed and managed within their regional context and in closer consultation with the relevant regional organizations.
The Council had been concerned to see reviews of individual peace operations carried out, and the report recommended a review of long-standing missions to assess their effectiveness, he said. The Panel addressed the shortcomings of the Secretariat’s policy, analysis and strategy development processes, and stressed the need for a core capacity for strategic analysis and assessment, including in the planning and review of peace operations. The Secretary-General’s establishment of a Strategic Planning and Monitoring Unit in his Executive Office was precisely the reform required to ensure better planning and reviews.
The Council’s decisions in mandating peace operations based on such planning and reviews should always reflect the primacy of politics, he said, and he hoped the Council would be stronger in its insistence upon and support for the political strategies that peace operations were deployed to pursue. Both the Brahimi and Panel reports emphasized that mandates and resources, expectations and capabilities must be in alignment if peace operations were not to be set up for failure. The emphasis placed in the report on partnerships with regional organizations, particularly the African Union, was important, and he welcomed the Joint United Nation-African Union Framework for Enhancing Partnership on Peace and Security launched in April.
The Security Council then unanimously adopted resolution 2378 (2017).
HAILEMARIAM DESALEGN, Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Council President for September, said the resolution’s adoption held particular significance to his country. As a troop-contributing country, Ethiopia took pride in participating in peacekeeping operations and believed that the Council had a key role in strengthening peacekeeping in authorizing deployment and reviewing operations. Yet, as much as reform was important, the Council did not have a dedicated debate on the issue until now, at a critical time, during the opening of the General Assembly session when Heads of State were present. For its part, the Council must send a clear message of support for the Secretary-General’s reform efforts. Enhancing partnerships was a key area, as the United Nations could not handle new and emerging peace challenges alone, so forging such relationships was a sensible approach. To do so, practical steps must be taken through, among other things, the sharing of burdens. “There’s a great deficit here,” he said, emphasizing that African Union-led operations could and should be partly financed through United Nations-assessed contributions. “This is not only fair and appropriate, but in the best interest of security.”
MACKY SALL, President of Senegal, said that, at a time when peacekeeping operations were being targeted and sometimes faced resistance from host countries, implementing the Secretary-General’s proposal could mean that peacekeeping efforts could enter a new phase. Recent meetings with the United Nations and the African Union could help to advance progress in that regard. Pointing at the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), the most deadly operation on the continent, he said that, despite the presence of 10,000 “Blue Helmets”, “our soldiers are in a position of insecurity”. Given that sometimes peace had to be “enforced”, it was essential that missions were adequately equipped and staffed. Going forward, the Council must examine efforts to strengthen the triangular dialogue between itself, the troop-contributing countries and the host Government to foster a collective trust, with close attention paid to engaging effective mediators.
ABDEL FATTAH AL SISI, President of Egypt, recalling that his country was amongst the very first to contribute to peacekeeping missions, said that such operations should not be an alternative to preventive diplomacy and mediation. A new strategic approach must include a comprehensive, pragmatic plan and the international community must prioritize efforts to resolve conflicts, rather than “managing” them, which resulted in a lack of political solutions. Furthermore, peacekeeping operations must not substitute the role of Governments and host State institutions, nor must they become trusteeship mechanisms. In regards to certain Member States attempting to monopolize the mandate formulation and in the absence of consultations with troop- and police-contributing countries, he called for the Council to support the establishment of an effective and institutionalized triangular consultative mechanism among stakeholders. While the Security Council had the primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security, the role of regional organizations was vital, he stressed, highlighting that of the African Union and its successful partnership with the United Nations. The potential role of the League of Arab States could also help establish peace and stability in the Arab region.
PETRO POROSHENKO, President of Ukraine, said that the United Nations must be more proactive in strengthening peacekeeping considering the growing threats to international peace and security. Previous reviews of the sector remained under-implemented in practice, but the possibility of success increased with the proactive role of the Secretary-General and a greater focus on the protection of civilians. Due attention must also be given to proper funding and sufficient capabilities, including aviation assets and other modern technologies, in the effort to move from traditional peacekeeping to “smart” peacekeeping. Commending efforts to eradicate sexual abuse by United Nations staff, he noted that Ukraine had signed the compact on the issue as part of its proud long-term partnership with the Organization’s peacekeeping efforts. Unfortunately, he stated, his country was now in need of peacekeeping services because of the Russian Federation’s aggression that had caused tens of thousands of casualties and the displacement of some 1.8 million people. He reaffirmed his request to the Council to deploy a United Nations operation and obtain a withdrawal of all foreign personnel from his country to restore its sovereignty.
MICHAEL R. PENCE, Vice-President of the United States, said that the most important mission of the United Nations was keeping the peace. Citing President Donald Trump’s words the previous day, he reiterated that everyone should put their country first, as Americans would always put their nation first. But “America first” did not mean the United States alone. He reiterated the call for fundamental reforms to United Nations peacekeeping, noting that missions should support a political solution, have the consent of the host country and have an exit strategy. When a mission succeeded, its work must not be prolonged, and when it failed to fulfill the mandates of the Council, it must be ended.
Turning to Europe, he said the Russian Federation sought to redraw international borders by force, and he also spoke of radical terrorism attacks that had taken place in Barcelona, Paris and London.
Addressing the issue of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he said that the world had seen in the last few days that country’s regime deploy ballistic weapons, which threatened the world with “unthinkable loss of human life”. The Council had adopted two resolutions applying sanctions against the regime. The United States would bring its full range of power to bear on Pyongyang. “All options are on the table,” he said, noting that, if the United States was forced to defend itself and its allies, it would do so “with military power that is effective and overwhelming”.
To keep peace, the United Nations needed to advance the cause of human rights, and it was no coincidence that some of the most dangerous regimes in the world were some of the worst abusers of human rights. Some were current members of the Human Rights Council, such as Cuba and Venezuela. He said that the Council also singled out Israel at every meeting, and had passed 70 resolutions condemning that State, while largely ignoring the largest human rights abusers. The Council should be reformed. Concluding, he drew notice to the “great tragedy involving Burma” that had shocked Americans and decent people, with 400,000 Rohingya people who had been forced to flee. He called on the Council and the United Nations to take swift action to bring that crisis to an end.
STEFAN LÖFVEN, Prime Minister of Sweden, honouring the memory of Zaida Catalán, a Swedish United Nations expert who had been killed on mission earlier in the year, called for the political will, courage and ability to adapt peacekeeping so that it remained relevant and adequately resourced to support political processes and solutions. To achieve that goal, emerging threats must be addressed and the root causes of conflict, often transboundary and complex, must be tackled. Stressing the need for stronger collaboration, he highlighted the African Union’s new partnership framework with the United Nations, which must be ensured sustainable and predictable financing, as well as clear cooperation on the ground. The partnership between the European Union and the Organization could be further developed, as well as the trilateral relationship between all three bodies. Peacekeeping should evolve based on evidence and lessons learned. “Seventy years of peacekeeping has taught us about the need for the full, equal and active participation of women,” he said, emphasizing his country’s efforts towards that aim. Noting that Sweden’s largest current force contribution was to MINUSMA, he underscored the need to work “smartly” and to pool resources. Recalling Dag Hammarskjöld, who had also lost his life serving the United Nations, he urged national leaders and members of the Council to choose, invest in and deliver peace.
PAOLO GENTILONI, Prime Minister of Italy, said the “Sustaining Peace” agenda required a holistic approach, a notion that the Secretary-General’s proposals had pushed further. Concrete actions must now effectively implement such an approach, he said, outlining Italy’s strategy. As a troop-contributing country, Italy had provided assistance and training based on the principle of zero tolerance for sexual abuse and exploitation. The Council had already acknowledged the role of regional organizations in providing local solutions to local problems, he said, noting the efforts of the Group of Five for the Sahel (Sahel G-5) joint force. Highlighting other efforts, including initiatives to protect cultural heritage, he said budgetary and financial support were essential to ensuring success for long-term solutions. Although not an easy task, it was the Council’s duty, as mentioned in the United Nations Charter.
THERESA MAY, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said the Council had a responsibility, and for peacekeepers to succeed, a political approach was needed to address conflict situations. But, politics did not end with a peacekeeping mission on the ground, and the Council must be willing and capable to discharge its duty. Given that the organ’s response to the situation in South Sudan was wanting, it should examine its own actions with a view to ensuring better planning and stronger performance by peacekeepers on the ground. Effective mission planning depended on clear mandates built on a shared understanding of the situation. More pledges were needed, but they must transform into troops on the ground, she said, emphasizing that, as peacekeeping was being reformed and adjusted, the right troops must be on hand for relevant deployment. Underlining the importance of including women in peacekeeping operations, providing all troops with necessary equipment and implementing the zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse, she welcomed further discussions on the resolution, regarding, among other things, finding a creative solution for African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). “Together we can deliver better peacekeeping and this resolution was an important step,” she said.
WANG YI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of China, said United Nations peacekeeping operations were facing new challenges and the principles of the United Nations Charter should form the cornerstone of reform efforts. The pursuit of political settlements should remain central to peacekeeping initiatives, as enshrined in the Charter. The reform should be supported by United Nations partners, fully leverage the role of regional and subregional organizations and help to foster a sustainable security environment on the ground. In recent years, some African countries had faced security challenges and the international community must support those States to find solutions. In addition, support for capacity-building must be strengthened, including establishing permanent and rapid-response forces. Financial support must also be scaled up, he said, calling on the Council to come up with a method to finance African Union operations. As a major troop-contributing country and financial contributor, China had dispatched thousands of personnel, formed an 8,000-strong standby force, provided training to numerous peacekeepers and deployed helicopters to areas in need. Peace was hard to make and harder to keep, he said, pledging support for United Nations peacekeeping operations and the African Union.
KAIRAT ABDRAKHMANOV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, fully supported the new trajectory for peacekeeping, including structural changes as well as a strengthened emphasis on prevention. Reforms must, he commented, uphold the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity while recognizing the obligation of States to fulfil their responsibility for the protection of civilians. He affirmed the importance of clear and achievable mandates that moved away from mere military arrangements, with more coherent programmes, new partnerships and cooperation between all organs of the United Nations system and other stakeholders. Cooperation with regional partners should be strengthened and accountability by all United Nations staff must be ensured. The latest technologies should be employed judiciously and in accordance with legal requirements. The concerns of youth and the participation of women must be integrated into all endeavours. Affirming his country’s commitment to peacekeeping as an emerging troop contributor, he stated that Kazakhstan would continue to increase preparedness training as it strove to become a regional centre for such activities.
JEAN-YVES LE DRIAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of France, said that, in peacekeeping, results were needed to respond to crises, as were the means to do so, with the two-fold requirement being the Council’s unique responsibility. Efforts must push for more effective peacekeeping and the recognition of when to end a mission. In South Sudan, for instance, a civil war and humanitarian crisis was ongoing, while in Mali, the spread of terrorist groups made it the deadliest peacekeeping mission. But, expectations in those and some other missions must be managed. Efforts must be made to help States boost their capacity-building and security sector reform. States must be engaged in their own security, as could be seen in initiatives undertaken by the Sahel G-5 States. More broadly, tools must be developed to address emerging challenges such as terrorism and all parties must have coordinated and concerted responses to such threats. The United Nations and the African Union were helping to provide meaningful responses to crises on the continent, he said, noting the importance of settling discussions on financing. While some States were in disagreement over the financing of African Union missions, he said “that is the future”.
SERGEY V. LAVROV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, said peacekeeping needed to be tailored to the situation on the ground. Amid reform efforts and the crafting of appropriate approaches, the Russian Federation believed settling conflicts must be through political processes, including using national dialogue. The primary principle of peacekeepers must be respected and Blue Helmets should be deployed only with permission of the relevant State. Mandates that included the use of force must thoroughly be calibrated to specific situations. Given the recent trend of the Secretariat towards using intelligence units in peacekeeping, he said relevant conditions must be met and how information was controlled and maintained must be closely examined, as it would be inadmissible to loosely interpret guidelines in that regard. A key factor in ensuring international peace and security was a genuine partnership, he said, welcoming the role of regional organizations. Highlighting the important work done by the African Union, he said that only proactive efforts by Africans themselves would lead to success solutions to crises on their continent. Support was needed to help African States to deal with situations such as the flood of weapons spilling from Libya into Mali and neighbouring States, and terrorist groups’ activities in Somalia and other countries. Turning to another concern, he said a United Nations mission in south-eastern Ukraine could be an effective tool to implementing the Minsk agreements.
TARŌ KŌNO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, noted that his country had dispatched more than 12,500 personnel over the past 25 years to 27 missions, including Cambodia, Golan Heights, Timor-Leste and Haiti. Recently, Japan’s engineering units had been deployed to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), repairing approximately 260 kilometres of road and developing 500,000 square meters of land. In regards to the gap between field requirements and peacekeepers’ capability and equipment, his country had been a strong partner in developing the United Nations Project for African Rapid Deployment of Engineering Capabilities in Kenya since 2015. He also stressed the importance of women in peacekeeping, as well as the human resource development of youth. Those affected and hurt most from conflicts were women and children. Women peacekeepers could provide appropriate support and address specific needs. In that regard, Japan would be hosting an outreach seminar to promote more senior women to be appointed to mission leadership positions.
ENRIQUE LOEDEL, Vice-Minister for Political Affairs of Uruguay, said that, as a troop-contributing State, his country supported the reform process to boost efficiency and effectiveness in fulfilling mandates. Peacekeeping was a critical and cost-effective tool, and while progress had been made in implementing the reports of the Panel and of the Secretary-General, the success of a peace operation largely depended on responsibility-sharing among stakeholders. The Council must remain united when discussing policy strategies in engaging actors to ensure the success of lasting solutions. While improvements had been made, they were not enough. The Council was duty-bound to acquire the concerned State’s approval for missions. Once a mission was launched, training was key to ensuring that the entire mandate could be fulfilled. Underlining the Kigali Principles, he said civilian protection was a critical component of missions. Budget and staff cuts should only be done with a thorough examination of the mandate, he said, emphasizing the role of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) in that regard.
SACHA SERGIO LLORENTTY SOLÍZ (Bolivia) highlighted several reform recommendations, including the Secretary-General’s proposal for a focus on prevention and new ways of planning. Dialogue, negotiation and the peaceful settlement of conflicts were essential tools, with approaches designed on a case‑by‑case basis that promoted national ownership of mandates. To prevent conflicts, strengthening dialogue and strategizing with regional organization were critical, as could be seen in cases of cooperation with the United Nations and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union. Predictable and flexible financing for peacekeeping efforts was also essential, framed by clear mandates and adequately equipped, staffed and trained missions. Regarding authorizing peace missions with the United Nations and the African Union, financing must be jointly discussed and undertaken as needed. In response to his counterpart from the United States, he said certain issues that had been discussed in the General Assembly had been brought into the Security Council Chamber today, including the Human Rights Council. The Non-Aligned Movement, representing two thirds of the Organization’s membership, had declared today their concerns about unilateral pressure, sanctions and the threat of or the use of force against sovereign States in contravention of the United Nations Charter. Highlighting many issues of concern in that regard, he called on the United States to, among other things, end its decades-long blockade of Cuba and provide economic compensation.
JACOB ZUMA, President of South Africa, noting significant advances in the peacekeeping partnership between the United Nations and the African Union, stressed the importance of predictable, flexible and sustainable financing for Union operations authorized by the Security Council. As the United Nations had primary responsibility for international peace and security, it was obligated to provide assessed contributions for such support operations, he stressed. The Council should explore implementation of each of the four financing model options that had been proposed in that vein on a case-by-case basis. It should then apply lessons learned as the process proceeded. In addition, he reiterated commitment to the revitalization of the African Union Peace Fund and support to the three windows of activity to be financed by it, with an emphasis on mediation and preventive diplomacy. By way of conclusion, he affirmed shared responsibility for bringing about peace, stability and prosperity in line with the Union’s Agenda 2063 and its programme on Silencing the Guns by 2020.
KERSTI KALJULAID, President of Estonia, while calling for peacekeeping missions to have tangible target and exit strategies, urged that operations have built-in flexibility because of inevitable volatile circumstances. Listening to those in the field, in particular mission commanders, and applying their suggestions, guaranteed automatic adaptions to the changes on the ground. Partnership with regional organizations, host Governments and local communities was also essential to achieving sustainable peace. As well, peacekeeping operations needed to be complemented with efforts to improve living conditions of affected populations, including the implementation of visible projects that created jobs and delivered basic social services in the post-conflict phase. A thorough and broad understanding of conflicts and their root causes were core to sustainable peace, she said, lamenting that MINUSMA would be left without its intelligence unit, which provided decision makers on all levels a unique understanding of the matters at hand. Research showed that peacekeeping reduced the number of civilians killed. Such operations were cost-effective, she pointed out, adding that the United Nations peacekeeping budget was less than 0.5 per cent of global military spending and was shared among all 193 Member States.
JUSUF KALLA, Vice-President of Indonesia, supported reform of United Nations peacekeeping considering his country’s long-standing support to the endeavour. For the effort to succeed, collective and strong political support was needed, he said. Cooperation between all actors was crucial. Guidelines must be translated into action. Preventive diplomacy, mediation and peacebuilding must remain interlinked. Reform, he stressed, must reflect the actual needs of peacekeepers on the ground, and training was critical. His country stood ready to contribute in that area and to promote the role of women, he added, stating that the Indonesian Peacekeeping Centre had trained personnel from 30 countries in the past three years. Describing the contributions of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), he urged stronger United Nations engagement with regional organizations. Indonesia was running for a seat on the Council for the period 2019‑2020 to help create a global ecosystem of peace and stability that encompassed synergy between the peace and development agendas and to strengthen the fight against violent extremism.
KRISHNA BAHADUR MAHARA, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal, stressed that impartiality and accountability were core to the success of peacekeeping operations. His country had participated in peacekeeping missions for over 60 years and was the sixth largest troop contributor, often deployed in the most difficult regions. While the reform of peacekeeping was critical, such changes should be continuous and not a one-time event. Political will and participation of all stakeholders was necessary to producing the result “we all want”. Furthermore, capacity-building should be backed up with resources. To implement the reforms being called for, the Secretary-General, Security Council, Secretariat and troop-contributing countries should be working together right from the planning page. “Lets us all move and make peacekeeping successful”, he said, reaffirming Nepal’s commitment to those reforms.
ERNA SOLBERG, Prime Minister of Norway, speaking for the Group of Friends of the High-level Panel (Ethiopia and Republic of Korea), underscored that 65 million people had been displaced in recent times, the highest ever recorded. The Panel was a milestone towards making peace operations more effective. There were three areas in which the Security Council could engage. First, the search for political solutions should guide all peace operations. Differences must be overcome. Only then could there be genuine engagement. No outside engagement could substitute national and local leaders themselves. Secondly, in regards to the rapid changes around the world, there needed to be a strong global peace led by the United Nations working with regional and subregional organizations, as recently illustrated by the recent African Union and United Nations framework. She also emphasized there could be no lasting peace in the Sahel without G-5 forces being adequately resourced. Lastly, she underscored the criticalness of effective delivery in the field, including active engagement with local communities, not the least, women. Stating she was greatly encouraged by the Secretary-General’s commitment to overhaul management systems, she said that the international community could only go forward “by working together with what unites us rather than what divides us”.
LINAS ANTANAS LINKEVIČIUS, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, said that, as a troop-contributor, his country had a great interest in making United Nations peacekeeping more efficient and conformant with current needs. Protection of civilians must remain a key priority and there must be zero tolerance of sexual abuse by the Organization’s personnel, as spelled out by the compact already signed by his country. In addition, women’s equal participation in all peacemaking processes must be further strengthened, and the deployment of women’s protection advisers and other gender experts should be further expanded. Safety and security of all United Nations personnel must remain a high priority, and should be enhanced by new technologies when applicable. He called upon Member States to unite around the complete reform initiative of the Secretary-General and fully utilize the current momentum to make the necessary advances in United Nations peacekeeping.