Thursday, 17 February 2022
Statements by Members
The risk of Russian aggression and conflict in Ukraine is now, unfortunately, very real. There are about 150,000 Russian troops across Ukraine's borders in Belarus and on the Crimean peninsula. This should be of deep concern to us in Australia because we live and we prosper in a global rules based order, and a threat to this order anywhere is a threat to it everywhere. Some of the principles that underpin this order are the sovereign equality of all nations, the settlement of disputes by peaceful means and the prohibition on the use of force against the territorial integrity and political independence of another member state.
These are all articles encapsulated in the UN Charter which helped usher in a new era of peace and prosperity at the end of the Second World War and they remain fundamental to the period of unparalleled peace and prosperity we've enjoyed in the world since. But Russia's aggression towards Ukraine—and let's be clear: this aggression is happening right now, even before they've set a foot across borders—and their demands towards NATO are a clear violation of each of these principles. If we allow this to stand or if we humour these demands, then the whole international system is at risk. The sovereignty of smaller nations and their freedom to take decisions and form relationships in their own national interest will be at risk.
This is why the fate of Ukraine matters to Australia, this is why we should join our allies and friends in condemning Russian aggression and this is why we must ensure that Russia's destabilising actions are met with a substantive response.