Before I begin, I would like to welcome the Right Honorable Gentleman to his new role, and my honorable friend to his new post as Minister for Europe.
I wish to inform the Assembly of what we are doing to combat Russian aggression against Ukraine.
In December, I explained how, with our allies, we will build a freedom network to ensure that democracy doesn’t just survive, it thrives.
And of course, as a free and democratic country in Europe, Ukraine is a crucial priority.
Britain was one of the first countries to recognize Ukraine’s independence 30 years ago.
Today our commitment to Ukraine is unwavering. We are with our friend against the hostile actors.
We will defend democracy on the border of freedom in Eastern Europe and around the world.
Britain and her allies made this clear to NATO in November and to the G7 I hosted in Liverpool last month.
Any Russian military incursion into Ukraine would be a massive strategic error and would have a very high cost.
We will not accept Russia’s campaign to overthrow its Democratic neighbors.
It comes with baseless rhetoric and misinformation. They falsely presented Ukraine as a threat to justify their aggressive stance. They falsely accuse NATO of provocation.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Ukraine’s restraint is commendable and NATO has always been a defensive alliance.
Russia is the aggressor here. They massed large numbers of troops along the Ukrainian border and in illegally annexed Crimea.
Nothing justifies Russia’s bellicose stance towards Ukraine. It is not provoked. It’s part of a larger Kremlin pattern of behavior, which relies on misinformation and mistrust to seek to gain the upper hand.
Moscow has waged a long campaign to overthrow freedom and democracy in Ukraine, from the 2014 invasion to cyber attacks, disinformation and the militarization of the energy supply.
At the same time, they support the repressive actions of the Lukashenko regime in Belarusâ¦ sowing the seeds of discord in the Western Balkansâ¦ and threatening our friends in the Baltic.
I urge Russia to end its malicious activities and stick to what has been agreed.
This means the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, where Russia pledged to settle disputes through dialogue rather than force.
This is the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 on Security Guarantees, in which Russia agreed to maintain the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons in exchange for this guarantee of security.
And that means the 2014 Minsk Protocol, where all parties agreed to a ceasefire in the Donbass region. These agreements based on the principles of freedom, democracy and the rule of law must be respected.
The free world must rise to meet the moment. Britain is stepping up and leading by example.
I denounced the Russian aggression against the OSCE and NATO, and bilaterally with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Last month I chaired a meeting of G7 foreign ministers in Liverpool. We called on Russia to defuse the escalation, to continue diplomatic channels and to respect its commitments on transparency of military activities.
We have made it clear that any further military incursion into Ukraine would have massive consequences, including sanctions coordinated to impose a heavy toll on Russia’s interests and economy.
The UK is working with our partners on these sanctions, including high impact measures targeting the Russian financial sector and individuals.
We are also providing crucial economic and security support to Ukraine.
I work closely with Foreign Minister Kuleba. I spoke to him on Tuesday and last month hosted him in London for high level talks.
We continue to help Ukraine strengthen its defenses with joint exercises, maritime support, and training over 20,000 of its military, and more to come.
We are increasing support for trade in priority sectors like technology and clean energy to Â£ 3.5 billion. This includes Â£ 1.7 billion to bolster Ukraine’s naval capability.
I can’t wait to visit Kiev later this month.
We also support stability in the Western Balkans, where the Prime Minister has appointed Sir Stuart Peach as special envoy.
In Belarus, we were the first European country to impose sanctions on the Lukashenko regime, and we were also the first to send engineers to help Poland.
Next week will be absolutely critical for peace and security in Europe.
Tomorrow I will attend an extraordinary meeting of NATO foreign ministers. The US-Russian dialogue begins Sunday, followed by the NATO-Russia Council on Wednesday and the OSCE Permanent Council on Thursday. We will speak on the basis of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.
It is vital that NATO be united to repel Russia’s threatening behavior.
Together, we must make Russia live up to its long-standing obligations. There can be no reward for aggression.
Finally, Europe must reduce its dependence on Russian gas. Britain remains opposed to Nord Stream 2. I am working with allies and partners to highlight the strategic risks of this project.
We come at a crucial moment. The only way forward is for Russia to defuse and embark on the path of diplomacy.
We will continue to stand in solidarity with our allies, unwavering in supporting Ukraine and its future as a free and sovereign democracy.
I commend this statement to the House.