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The Security Council should reject categorically Russia’s illegal assault on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure: UK statement at the UN Security Council

Statement by Ambassador Barbara Woodward at the UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine.

We cannot say it enough times. Russia, who use their seat on this Council to opine on and to sit in judgement on other countries on this Council’s agenda, are, as we speak, bombing Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, with no regard for civilian life, in an illegal war of aggression and in defiance of the UN charter. Let me make three specific points.

First, we should all look at the facts. The Dnipro Hydroelectric Power Plant, the largest in Ukraine, was severely damaged in a targeted attack by Russia, and can no longer produce electricity. A breach of the dam would have had even more severe humanitarian consequences. This Council should reject, categorically, Russia’s deliberate and illegal assault on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

Second, Russia’s opening of a new front in the Northeastern region of Ukraine has exacerbated an already desperate humanitarian situation. Over the 10 – 28 May, the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine verified that 45 civilians were killed and 189 injured in the Kharkiv region and city. This includes the devastating attack on a civilian shopping centre on 25 May.  Many thousands of people have been evacuated, and IOM estimates the total number of internally displaced to be around 3.5 million.

The UK echoes the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Ukraine Denise Brown, who has condemned the repeated attacks in Kharkiv and Kharkivska Oblast. As she said, those fleeing their homes have suffered a new trauma in Kharkiv, having arrived in search of safety. And as ASG Msuya reminded us, this has an especially damaging impact on children in those areas; we should not tolerate children having to grow up under constant bombardment from Russian missiles, drones and shells. 

Third, we commend the bravery of humanitarian partners on the ground who are responding to intensification of attacks in the North by supporting evacuations from villages, responding to emergency needs, and improving preparedness measures for future strikes. The UK has committed over $456 million in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and the region and we urge other Member States to continue their support to an appeal that remains only 28% funded according to OCHA’s latest assessment.

Colleagues, only Russia has the ability to address this suffering.

So we echo the calls that we have heard from every member of this Council: for Russia to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law; to cease targeting infrastructure that provides the essential needs for Ukraine’s population; and we call on Russia to withdraw from the internationally recognised territory of Ukraine.

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