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“Russia must immediately leave Ukraine’s territory” – Op-ed by all the Heads of Mission of EU member states in Tehran and Ukraine’s chargé d’affaires

“Russia must immediately leave Ukraine’s territory”.


Today marks exactly one year since Russia’s full-scale military invasion of Ukraine. This was not the start of the war, however, as already in February 2014 Crimea was illegally annexed by Russia. Russia’s war of aggression is a blatant violation of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and a serious violation of the UN Charter. The EU will never recognise Russia’s illegal annexations of Ukrainian territory which clearly violate international law. Russia must immediately cease its aggression. The EU is ready to support Ukraine’s initiative for a just peace based on respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The EU stands in solidarity with the Ukrainians. In the past 12 months, the EU and its member states have made available at least EUR 67 billion in political, economic, military, financial and humanitarian support to Ukraine. The EU remains strongly committed to providing further military support to help Ukraine defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty. Besides intensive diplomatic efforts, which always remain the first option in resolving conflicts, the EU has adopted significant measures against the Russian government and its officials as a reaction to Russia’s breaches of international law.

Contrary to what Moscow claims, neither Europe nor NATO pose a threat to Russia and neither Europe nor NATO are at war with Russia. The Russian government alone is responsible for this war of aggression that they have started against Ukraine. The European response aims to end the Russian aggression against the sovereign state of Ukraine, not to threaten Russia’s borders. Russia can and should end this war.

Russia’s illegal aggression against Ukraine has severe humanitarian consequences. We condemn Russia’s indiscriminate attacks against civilians and critical infrastructure. The atrocities committed by Russian forces, and the suffering and destruction inflicted, are unspeakable. Over 7,000 civilians have been killed, including hundreds of children. Almost 5 million Ukrainian displaced persons have registered for temporary protection in Europe.

Russia’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine is a threat to all countries, not just to Europe. Russia’s actions are putting the global community at risk, by aggravating food and energy insecurity. The consequences also include price hikes and dramatic effects on the most vulnerable around the globe, including in Iran. As a result of Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian grain exports, the global availability of grain has decreased. The EU and Ukraine are leading efforts to mitigate these negative consequences, including through the Black Sea Grain Initiative, the EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes and Grain from Ukraine. We call on more countries to join these initiatives, which aim to alleviate the global hunger crisis.

We consider unacceptable any type of military support to Russia’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine. Arm sales and other ways of aiding or assisting a state violating international law is in itself a violation of international law. Such weapons, including drones, are used indiscriminately by Russia against the Ukrainian civilian population and infrastructure, causing even more suffering and destruction. The EU strongly cautions against any deliveries of weapons to Russia, in particular any steps towards possible transfers of short-range ballistic missiles, which would constitute a serious escalation and a direct threat to Europe.

While Iran has welcomed a large number of refugees from Afghanistan and is rightly expecting and receiving assistance from the international community, Russia has created a massive humanitarian crisis in Ukraine that is exacerbating the global refugee emergency and puts additional strain on available resources. The EU is strongly committed to help in alleviating the sufferings of people facing war and injustice, all over the world – and not least in this region. European countries host, for example, over 1 million Syrian asylum-seekers and refugees.

The EU stands united to make Russia bring its war against Ukraine to an end and help the Ukrainians defend themselves. As the war now tragically enters its second year, we reiterate the EU’s call for an immediate end of hostilities and a complete and unconditional withdrawal of Russian forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine. A rules-based international order and the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity in the UN Charter are in the interest of all states.

Ukraine is defending the values dear to all the peoples of the world who cherish peace and freedom, including the right of every state to freely choose its own destiny, whether in Europe or in the Persian Gulf region. The EU has expressed its support to the peace formula of President Zelenskyy and is committed to actively work with Ukraine on the 10-point peace plan.

The EU’s commitment to stand by Ukraine and the Ukrainian people is unwavering.


The ambassadors of all the EU member states in Tehran and Ukraine’s chargé d’affaires