It is my great pleasure to participate in the third Summit of the International Crimea Platform.
It is now nine years since Russia occupied and illegally annexed the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.
Today, as we meet again, we mark another tragic milestone. Eighteen months since Russia launched its unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine. An invasion that has wreaked havoc in Crimea, with disastrous effects on the human rights situation in the peninsula, and the destruction of critical infrastructure.
Furthermore, Russia’s war of aggression has brought about a sharp deterioration in freedom of navigation in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. It has also revealed the critical importance of the occupied Crimean Peninsula, its surrounding waters, and the wider region, to international and regional security.
Over the past year and a half, the European family has stood firm in demonstrating its unity and resilience. Moscow’s efforts to divide us have failed utterly.
Our position is steadfast: we will continue to defend our principles and values, the inviolability of borders, fundamental human rights, international law and the UN Charter.
Unilateral and illegal annexation of territories through the use of force cannot stand. Such actions are null and void and will never be legal under international law.
Mr. President, only two days ago, I welcomed you to Athens. In our discussions I reiterated Greece’s unwavering support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
Greece is equally committed to supporting Ukraine in its efforts around integration. To this end we have signed a Joint Declaration on the Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine.
Greece of course remains determined to assist Ukraine’s recovery efforts too, including contributing to the restoration of historical buildings in Odessa.
Mr. President, the determination and courage of the Ukrainian people and armed forces are an inspiration to all of us. In defending your nation from unprovoked attack, you are contributing to the security of the European continent. You can count on our support, our friendship, and our solidarity in those vital efforts.
Thank you for standing up for those values that are most dear to our peoples and our countries and my warmest congratulations for tomorrow’s celebration of the 32nd National Day of Ukraine.