BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – On February 23, we celebrated the 38th National Day of Brunei Darussalam. It was a peaceful, dignified and happy celebration.
One day later, Russian troops invaded their neighbouring country of Ukraine in a pre- meditated act of aggression.
In Brunei, we enjoy peace and the rule of law.
Meanwhile, Ukraine and its people are being attacked in what is the largest military invasion of any European country since the Second World War. War and bloodshed have returned to Europe. An independent, peaceful country is being overrun by Russian troops in a blatant violation of international law. Ukrainian civilians are suffering and losing their lives, their homes and their livelihoods. Hundreds of thousands are fleeing.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is an unprecedented breach of the UN Charter. It is an unprovoked declaration of war.
We welcome the statement from Brunei Darussalam, which condemns the use of force and underlines the importance of sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
It is exactly these principles which have been violated by Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol in 2014, and by the decision to send Russian troops across the border in an unprovoked act of war.
All of our countries have substantial Ukrainian populations, living and working peacefully alongside their neighbours – also with the substantial number of their Russia-born neighbours. They now live in horror and fear for their parents, siblings and friends back home.
We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
Russia has ignored multiple offers of a diplomatic way forward, including through the Minsk Agreements unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council. It attacked Ukraine literally during an UN Security Council meeting, and while the UN Secretary-General was appealing to President Putin to maintain the peace.
We condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and call on Russia to stop the attack. We wholeheartedly support UN Secretary-General Guterres’s request for Russia to withdraw from Ukraine before this develops into a global crisis.
No one country can rob another of its history, independence, and principles. What happens in the next weeks will have lasting consequences for Ukraine and for all of us.
We stand by Ukraine and reiterate our unwavering commitment to its territorial integrity and sovereignty. With the Government of Brunei, we underline the importance of upholding the rules-based framework and respect for international law.
• This op-ed was contributed by Chintana Vongpaseuth, the chargé d’affaires of Australia; Jeanette Stovel, the high commissioner of Canada; Bernard Regnauld-Fabre, the ambassador of France; Gerda Winkler, the ambassador of Germany; and John Virgoe, the high commissioner of the United Kingdom.