UN Security Council session on Ukraine – Foreign Secretary statement

Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, spoke at a UN Security Council session to reaffirm UK support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s illegal invasion

Mr President, thank you. Mr Secretary General thank you also.

Today we mark one year since President Putin began his full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Three months ago, I travelled to Kyiv. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, who is sitting with us here today, greeted me. He had promised to host me for lunch, as representatives of countries often do.

But I arrived just after another Russian missile attack on civil infrastructure had knocked out the water and the electricity supply to that city.

But Dmytro, Kyiv, were not going to let Putin’s bombs stop him from doing his job. The restaurant that hosted us rigged up a generator, and brought in litres of bottled water, and they provided the lunch.

Now, we’ve all given and received diplomatic hospitality in our jobs – but that is the kind of diplomatic hospitality that shows something very important. It was a clear demonstration that whilst Ukrainians may have been hit, and hit hard, their spirit will not be broken. That restaurant wanted to show me that they would not give up, that they would keep calm, and carry on.

Dmytro kept his promise to me, and all of us in this chamber today need to keep our promise to Ukraine, and keep our promise to the world to protect and defend the UN Charter.

Over the past year, Putin has shown that he is willing to wage a war of attrition. The twentieth century’s two world wars have shown us what a horror that would be. Hundreds of thousands more dead and wounded. Global shortages of food and fuel. Skyrocketing prices.

For these reasons and many more, Putin cannot, must not, win in Ukraine.

Because what’s at stake on the battlefield is the international order itself, and that is at the heart of the United Nations. The UN Charter, territorial integrity, international law – these things exist to protect countries that do not themselves have big and powerful armies and it is to protect them from the aggression of countries that do.

At the end of the Second World War, the United Nations saw a unique thing in human history. Powerful, victorious nations chose to limit their own power to protect the countries less powerful than themselves.

That is the bottom line. That is why the UN Charter needs to be protected, and it needs to be enforced. It’s why three quarters of the entire membership of the UN have repeatedly voted to condemn this invasion in the General Assembly.

But President Putin ignores the will of the United Nations. He doesn’t care about the UN Charter.

On 24 February last year, he told us it was not Russia’s ‘plan to occupy Ukrainian territory’. On 8 December, he called his illegal so-called annexations ‘a significant result for Russia’. His land grabs in eastern and southern Ukraine show us that his heart is set on imperial expansion. But – 800 Russian soldiers a day are dying for his hopeless ambitions. They are paying for his ego with their lives.

As he sees that his aggression against Ukraine is failing, we should expect him to try and strong-arm us into backing down.

With every dirty, coercive instrument at his disposal.

With cuts to grain and energy shipments.

With threats of escalation.

With poisonous disinformation and cyber-attacks.

We must be prepared for this. And we must recognise that these things are a sign of weakness rather than a sign of strength. Those of us in this chamber have a special responsibility to the UN Charter, and we cannot allow Putin’s invasion or his threats to succeed.

We must not deviate from our resolve.

The UK is proud of the support we have given Ukraine. But military assistance and humanitarian aid are not enough.

Because when this war is over, and it will be over with Ukraine’s successful defence of its territory, we must never allow Ukraine again to be left vulnerable to attack. We must make sure that Ukraine is safe, and secure, and economically viable.

That is why the UK is proud to co-host the Ukraine Recovery Conference in London in June of this year.

Together, we will mobilise the combined might of the public and private finance to ensure that Ukraine gets the reconstruction investment that it needs.

But what Ukraine wants – what we all want – is for this war to end now. And to end with a victory for Ukraine, and a just and enduring peace, based upon the UN Charter. Because only this can bring an end to the food and fuel shortages that the whole world is suffering from.

One year on, one year into this terrible, terrible war, let us in this chamber send a clear message: Our support for Ukraine is not, and will never be, time-limited. Our defence of the UN Charter is not, and will never be, time-limited.

We will keep the promises we made to the UN Charter and to the Ukrainian people. And will give the Ukrainians the help that they need. For as long as it takes.

Until Ukraine prevails.

Until its sovereignty and territorial integrity is restored.

And until this charter, of this organisation, is upheld.

Thank you.



  1. Fine words and I’m glad he’s pointing out that the very people who are sworn to uphold the UN Charter are breaking it. It’s time for the UN to stand up for their charter and stand against fascism and corruption. If not then the UN in effect will be supporting the destruction of human rights and prove we have learned nothing from WWII.

  2. James Cleverly … sigh.

    Your support and defense of the UN Charter is unwavering. So fucking what you moron that is meaningless as long as Russia can use the security council veto to prevent UN action from stopping crimes against humanity.

    Russia is following the will of the U.N. that gives them the right to exercise a veto. The UN is giving them the power.

    And if you take action to address this, it may stop China from supporting Russia and it may stop WWIII. China doesn’t want to lose their veto power. So take Russia’s away and let China consider that.

    And why no comments about China’s assertions that sanctions should be applied without security council approval????

Enter comments here: