Portugal condemns Russia for ‘irresponsible nuclear rhetoric’ and calls for accountability

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The Portuguese government condemned on Wednesday, “in the strongest terms”, Russia for its war on Ukrainian soil and for its “irresponsible nuclear rhetoric”, assuring that it is “fully committed to ensuring Moscow’s accountability” and Ukraine’s reparations.

In an emergency special session at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly marking one year of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Secretary of State for Internationalization, Bernardo Ivo Cruz, recalled that Moscow has created a dramatic humanitarian situation, having triggered the worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

“The numbers are staggering – thousands have died and millions have left the country or internally displaced. The strategy of relentlessly attacking critical infrastructure, with a tremendous impact on the civilian population, is particularly reprehensible,” Ivo Cruz stressed in New York.

“Portugal supports the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine. We will continue to provide assistance to its government and people, both bilaterally and within the framework of the European Union and the United Nations, as long as necessary,” he assured.

In front of a large audience, which included ministers from several countries, Bernardo Ivo Cruz informed that Portugal is rapidly approaching 60,000 requests for temporary protection and that Portuguese humanitarian aid to Ukraine continues to increase.

Among Portugal’s concrete aid to Ukraine, the Secretary of State indicated the reconstruction of schools, namely in the Zhytomyr region.

“We have gathered here today to protect the multilateral system and uphold our respect for international law, human rights and the peaceful resolution of disputes between states. Furthermore, Portugal is fully committed to ensuring accountability and will continue to support initiatives aimed at preventing violations, fighting impunity and repairing Ukraine,” he stressed.

The emergency special session at the General Assembly will run through Thursday and is part of a broad UN agenda to mark one year of war in Ukraine, which also includes a Security Council ministerial meeting on Friday.

At the end of the session, the General Assembly will vote on a draft resolution submitted by Ukraine and allies that emphasizes “the need to achieve, as soon as possible, a comprehensive, just and lasting peace” in accordance with the UN founding charter.

In this sense, Ivo Cruz, who aligned his statement with that of the European Union, said that Portugal supports all significant efforts to end this war and that the road to peace is for Russia “to act in accordance with the UN Charter and respect Ukraine’s sovereignty by withdrawing from all its territory.”

“We believe that the draft resolution before us is an important step in that direction and we encourage all member states to support it,” he appealed.

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