Senior Official Condemns Russian Federation’s Missile Strikes against Ukraine’s Critical Infrastructure, as Security Council Holds Emergency Meeting on Attacks

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Hours after the Russian Federation launched a barrage of missile and drone strikes attacks against civilians and critical infrastructure across Ukraine overnight, a United Nations senior official condemned such attacks and demanded they stop, stressing to the Security Council that they are prohibited under international humanitarian law, as that 15-nation organ held an emergency meeting on the matter today.

Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, reported that widespread attacks against civilians and critical infrastructure are continuing across Ukraine, with devastating consequences.  Overnight, a new wave of missile and drone strikes terrorized the people of Kyiv and other cities in the country.  Ukrainian officials stated that there were practically no large thermal or hydroelectric power plants left intact in Ukraine, she said, pointing to fears that this winter will be catastrophic for millions of Ukrainians who could be without heating, electricity or water amid freezing temperatures.

“I will say it once again:  attacks targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure are prohibited under international humanitarian law,” she emphasized.  “The United Nations strongly condemns these attacks and demands that the Russian Federation immediately cease these actions,” she stressed, calling on the international community to ensure that the most vulnerable people in Ukraine are adequately protected and able to cope with the months ahead.

Turning to the situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, she called for the immediate cessation of all military activities at, and around, the plant, underscoring that the reported shelling at the plant over the weekend is reckless and deplorable.  However, spotlighting a positive development “amid the dark news of today”, she said the parties reported today yet another prisoner exchange and called on them to continue those releases and ensure that they fulfil their obligations under international law.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine, addressing the Council via tele-videoconference, said:  “When the temperature is below zero outside, and tens of millions of people are left without heat and water as a result of Russian missiles hitting energy facilities, this is an obvious crime against humanity.”  He also described the overnight rocket attack on a hospital that took the life of a 2-day-old baby and the 70 rockets aimed at Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, affecting hospitals, schools and transport.

Although the Russian Federation has been trying to turn the 15-member organ into “a platform for rhetoric and manipulation”, he underscored that Council was created as the world’s most powerful platform for decisions and actions.  “It is time to support the Ukrainian formula for peace.  There must be no opportunity left for terror in the world,” he stressed, calling on the international community to support that peace proposal and for the Council to provide a clear assessment of the Russian Federation’s actions and consider a resolution condemning any form of energy terror.

In the ensuing debate, Council members denounced the Russian Federation’s latest strikes, voicing concern that the resulting mass power outage will further inflict misery on already suffering Ukrainians.  They called on the parties to comply with international humanitarian law and described how their countries are assisting Ukrainians to avert a life-threatening winter.

The representative of the United States, noting that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “weaponizing winter”, said that if he cannot seize the country by force, he will try to “freeze the country into submission”.  There must be a mechanism for accountability, and the international community must do everything in its power to support Ukraine’s people.  For its part, the United States has contributed over $250 million in winterization-specific humanitarian assistance that will help provide heating supplies, blankets, shelter-repair materials and generators, she said.

Albania’s representative emphasized that the Russian Federation may use whatever camouflaged language it has used in the past, but it is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.  The European Parliament’s landmark resolution confirmed this, recognizing the Russian Federation as a State sponsor of terrorism and as a State that “uses means of terrorism”, he said.  The cause and root lie solely with the Russian Federation’s aggression, he said, calling once again on that country to stop, withdraw and engage in diplomacy.

Kenya’s representative, joining other delegations, said: “We cannot overstress the need to spare civilians and civilian infrastructure from attacks”.  Noting the roll-over of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and the agreement to ensure the unimpeded export of Russian food and fertilizer, he said unimpeded deliveries must be ensured to countries in need, especially those in Africa.  The Secretary-General and his good offices must be leveraged further to bring the war to an end and the Council must explore all options that can lead to the war’s cessation, followed by a dialogue for a political solution that guarantees Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

However, the Russian Federation’s representative, countering delegations’ claims about the attacks, emphasized that his country is conducting strikes against infrastructure in response to the “unbridled” flow of weapons into Ukraine and Kyiv’s reckless appeals to defeat the Russian Federation.  Over the course of its special military operation, the Russian Federation has had to deal not only with the Kyiv regime’s units, but also the countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), who are providing various military support while “conducting a proxy war with Russia”.  Thus, to weaken and destroy the military potential of its opponents, Moscow has conducted precision strikes against energy and other infrastructure used to supply Ukrainian units armed with Western weapons.  Weakening Ukraine’s military capacity will continue by military means until the Kyiv regime adopts a “realistic position”, he said.

Romania’s representative, drawing attention to the war’s spillover effects, reported that his country is making its own grain available to partners around the world and will continue to help facilitate Ukrainian exports.  To that end, Romania, which shares the largest land border with Ukraine, has inaugurated a new crossing point between the two countries.  More so, the Russian attacks have not only put millions of Ukrainians’ lives at risk because of no access to heat or electricity, they also created a complete blackout today in the Republic of Moldova.  For the past month, Romania has been supplying between 80 and 90 per cent of that country’s electricity needs, he noted.

The representative of the Republic of Moldova, on that point, said today’s event left his country with severely disrupted and unavailable power, water supply, internet and mobile phone connection services.  The war should stop now to avoid catastrophic humanitarian consequences, he stressed, calling on the Russian Federation to immediately cease its military aggression, withdraw its forces from Ukraine’s sovereign territory, fully comply with its international law obligations and uphold human rights.

Also speaking were representatives of Norway, France, Brazil, United Kingdom, Ireland, United Arab Emirates, Mexico, Gabon, China, India and Ghana.

The meeting began at 4:05 p.m. and ended at 5:33 p.m.

Briefing

ROSEMARY DICARLO, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, said relentless, widespread attacks against civilians and critical infrastructure are continuing across Ukraine, with devastating consequences.  Overnight, a new wave of missile and drone strikes terrorized the people of Kyiv, Odesa, Lviv, Mykolaiv, Kharkiv, and Zaporizhzhia.  As Ukrainians desperately sought shelter from the bombing, they also had to contend with freezing temperatures.  Those latest attacks renew fears that this winter will be catastrophic for millions of Ukrainians, who face the prospect of months of frigid weather with no heating, electricity, water or other basic utilities.

According to initial media reports quoting local authorities, the strikes today killed or injured over 30 civilians as residential buildings were hit in Kyiv and in Chabany and Vyshhorod towns in the outskirts of the capital, she said.  The United Nations has also seen reports of an overnight strike on a maternity hospital in the town of Vilnyansk in Zaporizhzhia region where a two-day-old baby was reportedly killed in the attack.  Even before the latest strikes, Ukrainian officials stated that there were practically no large thermal or hydroelectric power plants left intact in Ukraine.

Today’s barrage is likely to make the situation even worse, she continued.  Emergency shutdowns were introduced today in all regions of the country, and regions like Lviv, Zaporizhzhia, Odesa and Chernihiv were reportedly completely disconnected from electricity.  In Kyiv, Darnyts’ka Thermal Power Plant was hit.  All of Kyiv region was reportedly deprived of electricity and the approximately 3 million people of the capital were left without running water.  The Ladyzhyn Power Plant in Vinnytsia region was also hit.  Russian strikes also damaged energy infrastructure in Kremenchuk, Lviv and Odesa.  There are also reports that Odesa has no electricity nor running water.  Three nuclear power plants still operating — Rivne, South Ukraine, and Khmelnytskyi — were reportedly disconnected from Ukraine’s energy grid as a result of today’s attacks.  People in neighbouring Republic of Moldova are also likely to suffer consequences, as today’s strikes reportedly resulted in a blackout across the Republic of Moldova — a country that is already suffering an energy shortage due to the war.

Further, the World Health Organization warned this week of a life-threatening winter in Ukraine, she said.  The international community must ensure that the most vulnerable people in Ukraine are adequately protected and able to cope with the months ahead.  Humanitarian actors in Ukraine are working to support people facing the challenges imposed by the energy shortage.  Over the past weeks, more than 430,000 people have received some sort of direct winter assistance and nearly 400 generators have been distributed to ensure energy in hospitals, schools and other critical facilities.  “I will say it once again:  attacks targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure are prohibited under international humanitarian law.  So are attacks against military objectives that may be expected to cause harm to civilians that would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated,” she emphasized.

“The United Nations strongly condemns these attacks and demands that the Russian Federation immediately cease these actions,” she stressed, underscoring that there must be accountability for any violations of the laws of war.  Voicing concern as well about the situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant — the largest in Europe — she underlined that the reported shelling at the plant over the weekend is reckless and deplorable.  The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed on Monday that — despite the severity of the shelling — key equipment remained intact and there were no immediate nuclear safety or security concerns. “This is the result of sheer luck.  We do not know how long this luck will last,” she said, emphasizing that “the world cannot afford a nuclear catastrophe”.  Highlighting the risks of those attacks, she said that just a couple of hours ago IAEA reported that the plant has lost external electricity access and is relying on diesel generators to power cooling and essential nuclear safety functions.  “All military activities at, and around, the plant must cease immediately,” she said.

“Amid the dark news of today, I want to mention a positive development,” she said, noting that the parties today reported yet another prisoner exchange.  Thirty-five Russian and 36 Ukrainian prisoners were released, she reported, encouraging the parties to continue those releases and to ensure that they fulfil their obligations under international law, particularly the third Geneva Convention.  However, she also reported that the temperature in Kyiv right now is said to be -1°C, with snow forecast.  “The weather we have been both preparing for, and dreading, is now upon the people of Ukraine,” she pointed out, emphasizing that the international community must all work together to prevent a man-made humanitarian catastrophe this winter.  “The resulting shocks would exact a heavy price not only on Ukrainians, but on us all,” she added.

Immediate de-escalation is needed, she stressed, calling once again on Member States and international organizations to support efforts to this end, with respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.  The United Nations will continue to do its part on the ground and remains ready to support all efforts towards peace, in line with the Charter of the United Nations and international law.

Statements

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, President of Ukraine, addressing the Security Council via tele-videoconference, said his country awaits a firm reaction from those who recognize the Charter of the United Nations.  Ukraine has presented its “peace formula”, consisting of 10 points on how to restore the Charter, violated by the Russian Federation, to its full force, he said, adding: “In response to our peace formula, Russia is following the path of its terror formula.”  In the wake of his presentation of his proposal to the Group of 19 (G19) summit in Indonesia, Ukraine received “10 Russian missiles for each point of the peace formula,” he said.  A week after Ukraine outlined the peace formula to the Council on 16 November, the strikes continue.

After Ukraine liberated Kherson, and the Russian army fled the city, the Russian Federation began to methodically destroy that city, with daily strikes that targeted people, he continued, reporting that shells hit residential buildings.  “It seems that this is one of the main points of the Russian terror formula,” he noted.  In addition, on the night of 22 November, a rocket attack on a hospital took the life of a 2-day-old baby.  Further, on 23 November, there were 70 rockets aimed at Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, he continued, noting that those strikes affected hospitals, schools and transport.  Pointing out that the attacks by the Russian Federation led to a blackout in Ukraine, as well as in the neighbouring Republic of Moldova, he stressed:  “When the temperature is below zero outside, and tens of millions of people are left without heat and water as a result of Russian missiles hitting energy facilities, this is an obvious crime against humanity.”

“There are representatives of a State among you that offers nothing to the world except terror, destabilization and disinformation,” he said, stressing:  “It is time to support the Ukrainian formula for peace.  There must be no opportunity left for terror in the world.”  Ukraine is therefore turning to its partners for support to protect its skies and is in need of modern and effective air defence and missile defence systems.  The Council must take concrete steps to protect humanity and life.  Although the Russian Federation has been trying to turn the 15-member organ into “a platform for rhetoric and manipulation”, that Council was created as the world’s most powerful platform for decisions and actions.  Calling on the Council to provide a clear assessment of the actions of the Russian Federation, he urged it to consider a resolution condemning any form of energy terror, adding:  “Let’s see if anyone in the world, along with Russia, can say terror against civilians is a good thing.”

He went on to confirm his country’s invitation to United Nations experts to examine critical infrastructure that has been or may be hit by Russian missiles, underscoring the need for a proper assessment of the damage and destruction, and for justice to be restored within the United Nations.  It is a “dead-end” for the party responsible for terror to block any attempt by the Council to carry out its mandate, he said, pointing out that the right of veto is reserved for the Council member waging a criminal war.  “The world should not be held hostage by one international terrorist,” he stated.  Noting that the Russian Federation is trying to make the electric generator “a more powerful and necessary tool than the United Nations Charter”, he called on the Council to offer solutions and to restore meaning to the Charter.

LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD (United States), observing that Russian President Vladimir Putin seems determined to reduce Ukraine’s energy facilities to rubble, stated that he is “weaponizing winter” to inflict immense suffering on Ukraine’s people.  If he cannot seize the country by force, he will try to “freeze the country into submission”, she added.  However, if that happens, millions will be left without power, water and heat during the cold winter months.  Having struggled on the battlefield, Moscow is now adopting a cowardly, inhumane strategy that punishes Ukrainian men, women and children — a shameful escalation in the Russian Federation’s already unjustifiable war.  Underscoring that the catastrophic scale and cruelty of Russian attacks cannot be overstated, she stressed that there must be a mechanism for accountability and that the international community must do everything in its power to support Ukraine’s people.  For its part, the United States has contributed over $250 million in winterization-specific humanitarian assistance that will help provide heating supplies, blankets, shelter-repair materials and generators.  Further, it pledged an additional $4.5 billion on 22 November to help Ukraine keep its schools, hospitals, utilities and emergency services running and, today, announced an additional $400 million to help Ukraine’s military resist Moscow’s attacks.  Adding that President Putin seems to think his “campaign of brutality” will weaken the resolve of Ukraine’s people, she stressed that “he is, once again, gravely mistaken”, as the Ukrainian people will not be deterred – “no matter the cold and dark that Putin tries to inflict”.

ARIAN SPASSE (Albania) pointed out that it has become a pattern that when the Russian Federation feels it is losing ground, it resorts to targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure.  It may use whatever camouflaged language as it has done in the past, but it is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.  The European Parliament’s landmark resolution confirmed this, recognizing the Russian Federation as a State-sponsor of terrorism and as a State that “uses means of terrorism”.  The terrible reality is that a Council’s permanent member has descended so low that the most prominent house of democracy — the European Parliament — has qualified it as a sponsor of terrorism.  As the unjust war continues, the risk of catastrophic spillover effects are real, as demonstrated by the blackouts across the Republic of Moldova.  The more successful Ukraine proves, the angrier the punishing response, including attacks on its energy infrastructure in an effort to “submit Ukraine by freezing the population to death”.  The international community has made a clear choice by condemning the Russian Federation’s aggression and supporting Ukraine politically, militarily, and economically.  The cause and root lie solely with the Russian Federation’s aggression, he said, reiterating his call to that country to stop, withdraw and engage in diplomacy.

MONA JUUL (Norway), noting that she heard Ukraine’s President “loud and clear”, reiterated her country’s unwavering support.  The recent waves of attacks against Ukraine clearly demonstrate, once again, the Russian Federation’s complete disregard for the horrible suffering of millions.  Such attacks increase humanitarian harm, serve no military purpose, aim to terrorize Ukraine’s population, are illegal and may constitute war crimes.  Those responsible must be held to account.  Turning to the concerning situation of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, she voiced her support for IAEA’s efforts to establish a protection zone.  “The war against Ukraine is a tragedy for individuals, Ukrainian society and its people for generations to come.  It also has serious global ramifications,” she emphasized, before welcoming the renewal of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.  She also repeated her call for the Russian Federation to immediately cease its unlawful and senseless aggression.  Humanitarian organizations must have safe, rapid and unimpeded access to people in need; all civilians must be protected; and international humanitarian law and international human rights law must be fully respected and implemented, she emphasized.

NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE (France) strongly condemned the ongoing strikes on civilian targets, saying that every time Ukraine achieves a military victory, the Russian Federation responds with new attacks on essential infrastructure.  Such retaliatory strikes are intolerable, he said.  France will continue to support Ukraine, including by organizing an international conference on 13 December to set up a mechanism to coordinate international assistance for the Ukrainian people.  It will also support the Republic of Moldova, he said, noting that the recent third meeting of the Moldova Support Platform, held in Paris, raised €100 million.

RONALDO COSTA FILHO (Brazil) reaffirmed that attacks against civilian targets, including energy and transport infrastructure, are unjustifiable and violate international law and international humanitarian law.  The parties must suspend hostilities immediately to avoid a further deterioration of the humanitarian situation.  He also noted with concern the announced deployment of air defence systems in Poland close to the Ukraine border.  It is necessary to act responsibly and to prevent at all costs the conflict from taking even greater proportions.  As important as it is to condemn the violations committed during this crisis, such statements are irrelevant to civilians who, on both sides of the front line, aspire for peace, he said.

JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom) said that the Russian Federation is trying to achieve with terror and murder what it could not achieve on the battlefield, namely the complete subjugation or destruction of Ukraine.  The Russian Federation must observe its obligations under international humanitarian law, he said, noting that the President of Ukraine has presented a comprehensive plan for a negotiated end to war.  The first crucial steps are for the Russian Federation to end its unilateral aggression and to restore Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, in line with its obligations under the United Nations Charter.  He added that United Kingdom will be providing new air defence equipment and stepping up humanitarian support for Ukraine for the cold, hard winter ahead.

CÁIT MORAN (Ireland), noting that rolling blackouts have become the new normal in Ukraine and that today much of the neighbouring Republic of Moldova is without power, condemned the Russian Federation’s use of energy as “a weapon of war”.  Citing the report of a Russian rocket attack on a maternity ward in a southern Ukrainian hospital that killed a newborn baby, she further noted that in Kyiv three people were killed as a result of Russian shelling and highlighted recent reports of torture chambers uncovered in Kherson.  These attacks have achieved nothing beyond terrorizing and punishing the civilian population.  Further, attacks targeting civilians and civilian objects are war crimes, she stressed, adding:  “Russia’s use of explosive weapons in populated areas is grossly disturbing.”  In that regard, she highlighted the “Political Declaration on Strengthening the Protection of Civilians”, which 83 countries adopted in Dublin last week.  She called for parties to the conflict to comply with international humanitarian law, including obligations against attacks that do not distinguish between military targets and civilians, among others.  “This is all the more urgent as millions of people across Ukraine enter into a dark and freezing winter at the hands of the Russian Federation,” she emphasized.  Noting that the Russian Federation “continues along its path of escalation, death and destruction”, she called on that country to cease all hostilities, withdraw its troops and return to diplomacy.

LANA ZAKI NUSSEIBEH (United Arab Emirates) expressed deep alarm that the recent reported missile strikes across Ukraine have caused an increase in rolling blackouts, cuts to water supplies and significant power outages to the extent that they have affected neighbouring Republic of Moldova.  She also expressed concern about reports that the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant was subject to renewed shelling over the weekend and echoed calls for a concerted effort by parties to avert a nuclear disaster.  “It is completely unacceptable that the people of the region, and indeed the world, should live under constant threat,” she said.  With the damage and destruction extending beyond Ukraine’s power plants and electricity grid, she urged parties to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure.  The current situation is yet another reminder of the urgent need for a cessation of hostilities and a peaceful resolution of this war.  Noting last week’s positive development regarding the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative to create the necessary momentum towards broader talks, she said the Council must rise to the occasion by showing unity around the path forward to resolving this conflict.

JUAN RAMÓN DE LA FUENTE RAMÍREZ (Mexico), warning that a nuclear accident would have unacceptable humanitarian and environmental consequences, called for a security perimeter to be urgently established around the Zaporizhzhia power plant.   He also noted that the Geneva Conventions and their additional protocols state unambiguously that civilian objects cannot be targeted.  Underscoring the war’s impact on food prices and its effect on food security in many countries, he welcomed the renewal of the Black Sea Grain Initiative as well as the memorandum of understanding between the Russian Federation and the United Nations Secretariat to facilitate market access for food and fertilizers.

LILLY STELLA NGYEMA NDONG (Gabon) called once again on the parties to find a political solution and escape from the logic of belligerence.  There is no possible solution other than dialogue, she said, adding that to prolong the war is to toy with the lives of thousands of civilians who are being exposed to indiscriminate attacks, including those on civilian infrastructure.  Interrupting electricity for millions of Ukrainians will worsen the humanitarian situation and exacerbate suffering as winter approaches, she warned.

MICHAEL KAPKIAI KIBOINO (Kenya), warning that “we cannot overstress the need to spare civilians and civilian infrastructure from attacks”, called for an immediate cessation of hostilities.  Dialogue and diplomacy must be given a chance.  Noting the roll-over of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and the agreement to ensure the unimpeded export of Russian food and fertilizer, he called for political assurances to ensure unimpeded deliveries to countries in need, especially those in Africa.  He added that the Secretary-General and his good offices must be leveraged further to bring the war to an end.  For its part, the Council must explore all options that can lead to the war’s cessation followed by a dialogue for a political solution that guarantees Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, addresses underlying grievances and secures a stable European security order, he said.

GENG SHUANG (China) expressed concern that the conflict in Ukraine has led to constant attacks on civilian facilities and a steady rise of civilian casualties and displaced persons.  “There is no winner in the conflict and the war, and dialogue and negotiations are the only way forward.”  China calls once again on the parties concerned to show restraint, avoid actions that exacerbate confrontation, and prevent complications from spiraling out of control.  The international community must focus on helping Ukraine repair its damaged energy infrastructure, provide supplies to the affected population, meet the basic needs of refugees and displaced persons, and help people properly resettle and survive this winter.  He called on all parties concerned to act with prudence, make every effort to ensure the safety of nuclear facilities and avoid man-made nuclear accidents.  China further welcomed the agreement reached by the parties concerning the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, he said.

VASSILY NEBENZIA (Russian Federation), regarding President Zelenskyy’s participation in today’s meeting, reiterated that his country is not opposed to such participation.  Rather, it should be in-person, as required by the rules that have guided the Council’s work for more than 75 years.  Addressing Norway’s representative, he said that, while she heard President Zelenskyy “loud and clear”, that President did not hear her as he is not interested in the views of Council members; rather, he simply wants a platform on which to speak.  Over the course of its special military operation, the Russian Federation has had to deal not only with the Kyiv regime’s units, but also the countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), who are providing various military support while “conducting a proxy war with Russia”.  Thus, to weaken and destroy the military potential of its opponents, Moscow has conducted precision strikes against energy and other infrastructure used to supply Ukrainian units armed with Western weapons.  Noting that many members today expressed outrage that Ukrainian citizens may find themselves without light or water, he said that the West displayed no such concern when the inhabitants of Crimea found themselves in such a situation due to Ukraine’s actions in 2015.  “Not to mention the Donbas, which saw its economic lifeline snuffed out for eight years,” he added.

He stressed that the West’s reckless flow of weapons to Ukraine has already killed peaceful inhabitants in the Donbas and Ukrainian cities.  Kyiv’s propaganda attempts to carefully conceal this in its attempts to reduce everything to the Russian Federation’s fault.  Moscow is carefully recording all evidence of crimes committed by Ukrainian military units, “including on the territory of Russian regions temporarily under their control”, he noted.  Detailing purges, repression, torture, execution and other atrocities committed by the Ukrainian military, he said that his country expects the international community and international human-rights organizations to condemn Kyiv for its failure to comply with international humanitarian law.  The Russian Federation is conducting strikes against infrastructure in response to the “unbridled” flow of weapons into Ukraine and Kyiv’s reckless appeals to defeat the Russian Federation.  Weakening Ukraine’s military capacity is one of the special military operation’s goals, and this will continue by military means until the Kyiv regime adopts a “realistic position”, he stated.  In the meantime, what the world is hearing from President Zelenskyy and his supporters is not a readiness to achieve peace; rather, it is the language of reckless threats and ultimatums.  Western countries have encouraged this approach, and “war to the last Ukrainian” allows their military-industrial complex to make huge profits and test NATO armaments.  He stressed that, in this way, Western countries are trying to “consolidate their geopolitical hegemony using the bodies and lives of ordinary Ukrainians”.

RUCHIRA KAMBOJ (India) expressed regret that history has shown that killing civilians and devastating civilian infrastructure have been used as legitimate weapons of war.  She strongly condemned the use of oppressive violence against innocent civilians and the targeting of civilian objects in armed conflict, regardless of who commits them.  Her country consistently called for an immediate cessation of hostilities, an end to the violence, and for both sides to return to the path of diplomacy and dialogue, she said, reiterating her Prime Minister’s statement that this cannot be an era of war.  India’s people-centric approach encompasses providing both humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and economic support to some in the Global South under economic distress due to the conflict’s ripple effects.  It also provided humanitarian aid to Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia, financial aid for educational reconstruction, at the request of Ukraine, and exported 1.8 million tons of wheat to help low-income countries fight against price rises and foodstuff shortages.  She expressed her sincere hope for an early resumption of the peace talks to bring about an immediate ceasefire and early resolution of the conflict.

HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana), Council President for November, spoke in his national capacity, saying that the painful reality, made evident with each Council briefing, is that civilians are paying the highest price and will continue to suffer unless the war ends immediately.  Urging the collective support of the Council to bring relief to Ukraine’s people, he also called on all parties to exercise restraint and ensure compliance with the IAEA’s seven pillars of nuclear safety.  All warring sides must fully comply with their obligations under international law and international humanitarian law as well as with the prohibitions against direct attacks on civilian infrastructure.  He then stressed the importance of thorough, transparent and independent investigations into all claims of human rights violations and possible war crimes.  The Russian Federation must immediately withdraw its forces from Ukraine, he reiterated.  For its part, the Council must unify its efforts towards the immediate cessation of hostilities and further diplomacy to restore peace, he said.

CORNEL FERUȚĂ (Romania) stressed that the humanitarian situation has been dire for the past almost nine months but is now further deteriorating, with the civilian population enduring missiles or brutal unmanned aerial vehicle attacks in areas of limited military significance — intentionally targeting critical civilian infrastructure.  It is now night in Ukraine and many civilians do not have access to proper heating or electricity; the lives of many millions are at risk.  Recent attacks also affected the electricity interconnection between Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and the European electricity grid.  In the Republic of Moldova, these attacks led to a complete blackout today, and for the past month, Romania has been supplying between 80 and 90 per cent of that country’s electricity needs.

Last week, the General Assembly decisively stated that Moscow must bear the legal consequences of all of its internationally wrongful acts, including making full reparations, with the need to establish an international mechanism for reparation for damage, loss or injury, he continued.  All victims of the Russian Federation’s aggression deserve justice and reparation, he stressed.  Welcoming the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative beyond 19 November, he noted that Romania is making its own grain available to partners around the world, will continue to help facilitate Ukrainian exports, and has inaugurated a new border crossing point between the two countries to ensure better connectivity and diversify export routes.  With his country sharing the largest land border with Ukraine, he noted more than 8.5 million tons of grain and other food products were exported via Romania.

GHEORGHE LEUCĂ (Republic of Moldova) condemned the Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine and its recent attack on civilians and civilian infrastructure.  For more than nine months now, his country’s neighbour has been defending its freedom, sovereignty and territorial integrity from an unprovoked war of aggression.  This aggression has triggered the largest humanitarian refugee crisis in Europe, prompted global food shortages, caused economic downturns and has deepened the continent’s energy crisis.  Further, this brutal war continues to cause unforeseen human losses and the significant destruction of civilian and energy infrastructure which only worsens the overall humanitarian situation, he noted, expressing additional concern over the forthcoming winter period.

The spillover effects of the war against Ukraine are being felt increasingly in neighbouring countries, including in his country, he stressed.  The continued attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure have left the Republic of Moldova in darkness.  During the similar incident on 15 November, more than 50 per cent of the country was without electricity and had its water supply affected.  Today’s event left the Republic of Moldova with severely disrupted and unavailable power, water supply, internet and mobile phone connection services.  Reminding the Council of the missile debris which landed in a northern village on the border of Ukraine, he said such incidents demonstrate one thing:  the war should stop now to avoid catastrophic humanitarian consequences.  As such, the Russian Federation must immediately cease its military aggression, withdraw its forces form Ukraine’s sovereign territory, fully comply with its international law obligations and uphold human rights.  Standing in solidarity to defend the values of freedom, liberty and democracy, he reaffirmed his country’s unwavering support to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

 

Source: United Nations