The international community cannot stand by as a major power uses violence to expand its borders, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, calling on Member States to uphold the founding purposes and principles of the Organization.

“There is no justification whatsoever for Russia’s war of occupation against Ukraine,” Mr. Scholz said as he addressed the Assembly’s annual high-level debate.

‘Imperialism, plain and simple’

“President Putin is waging this war with one single objective: to seize Ukraine. Self-determination, political independence do not count for him. And there’s only one word for this – this is imperialism, plain and simple. The return of imperialism is not only a disaster for Europe, but also a disaster for our global peaceful order.

“If we want this war to end, then we cannot be indifferent to how it ends. Putin will only give up his war and his imperialist ambitions if he realizes that he cannot win,” he continued.

“This is why we will not accept a peace dictated by Russia. This is why we will not accept any pretentious referenda. And this is why Ukraine must be able to defend itself against Russia’s invasion.”

 Mr. Scholz said the world is witnessing new fragmentation, the emergence of new wars and conflicts, and the rise of major global crises.

“Some have seen this as a harbinger of a world without rules,” he noted. “Our problem isn’t the absence of rules. Our problem is the lack of willingness to abide by them and to enforce them.”

The alternative to a rules-based world is not anarchy, but the dominion of the strong over the weak, he stated, stressing that the international community cannot be indifferent to “whether the rule of power or the power of rules wins the day.”  

“The international order does not happen by itself. If we do nothing, then this Charter is but a piece of paper, he said, holding up a copy of the founding document of the United Nations. “This Charter calls on all of us to uphold its purposes and principles.”

‘We stand for international order’

The world “must not stand idly by when a major nuclear power, armed to the teeth, a founding member of the United Nations and a permanent member of the UN Security Council no less, seeks to shift borders through the use of violence,” Mr. Scholz stated.

The Chancellor added that the war in Ukraine is leading to rising prices, energy scarcity and famine. Germany is supporting Ukraine with the export of food and will also support efforts to rebuild the country. In this regard, on 25 October in Berlin, an international conference of experts will look at how to manage the “herculean” task of rebuilding.

“Our message is this: we stand firmly at the side of those under attack; for the protection of the lives and the freedom of the Ukrainians; and for the protection of our international order.”