Schallenberg Condemns Russia and Shows Support for Ukraine in OSCE Speech

PeopleDiplomats ♦ Published: February 26, 2023; 22:00 ♦ (Vindobona)

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg held a speech at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) sharply condemning Russia and reassuring the ongoing support for Ukraine.

Foreign Austrian Minister Alexander Schallenberg Has Held a Speech at an OSCE Meeting Condemning Russia's Aggression in Ukraine and Showing Solidarity for Ukraine / Picture: © Parlamentsdirektion / Johannes Zinner

One year ago, on February 24, 2022, Russia launched a brutal and massive war of aggression against Ukraine. Since then, the world has witnessed untold suffering, millions of displaced people, and enormous destruction. Addressing the OSCE Permanent Council in an extraordinary session to mark the sad anniversary, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg reiterated Austria's fullest solidarity with Ukraine.

Schallenberg condemned heavily Russia’s actions during this time by saying “Russia seems to know no boundaries in its neo-imperialist quest for power: From barbaric war crimes like in Butscha, the unspeakable nuclear saber rattling, to the cynical use of hunger and energy as a weapon. One thing is certain: the right of the strongest must not prevail over the strength of the law. Russia must not win this war.”

In addition, the Foreign Minister referred to Austria's great commitment to stand by Ukraine. So far, Austria has provided more than 124 million euros in humanitarian aid to Ukraine and affected neighboring countries. Of this, more than 59 million euros came from the Foreign Ministry's Foreign Disaster Fund (AKF). In September 2022, the federal government also signed a 600 million framework agreement for the construction of three hospitals in Ukraine. According to the Ukraine Support Tracker of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Austria thus ranks first in terms of its GDP in humanitarian aid to Ukraine. To date, Austria has also temporarily taken in more than 90,000 displaced Ukrainians, of whom more than 50,000 have remained in Austria.

Schallenberg also concedes here that all appeals for peace have so far fallen flat in the corridors of the Moscow Kremlin. However, he stresses that Austria, as the official seat of numerous international organizations, has a special responsibility to promote multilateral diplomacy and to preserve international forums for dialogue such as the OSCE for Europe's security.