“The cycle of death, destruction, disruption and dislocation must stop,” emphasized Rosemary DiCarlo.
Depravity of War
Amid a new wave of rockets and airstrikes in Kiev, Chernihiv, Odessa, Mykolaiv, Kharkov and other cities far from the front lines, the senior UN official drew attention to the Kremenchuk missile attack on a shopping center, allegedly by Russia, killing at least 18 civilians and wounding 59 others.
However, she warned that “the final toll could be much higher”.
The heaviest fighting is now taking place in and around the towns of Sievierodonetsk, Lysychansk and Sloviansk in the Donbas, and reportedly also around the towns of Kharkov and Kherson.
“In scenes reminiscent of World Wars, large-scale artillery duels ravage industrial areas, forcing thousands of civilians to hide in basements or flee for their lives,” said Ms. DiCarlo.
“Great military casualties are being claimed on both sides.”
‘Too high price’
“Civilians are still paying too high a price in this war,” she continued, telling ambassadors that the United Nations Office for Human Rights (OHCHR) recorded 10,631 civilian casualties in the country on June 26 – 4,731 killed and 5,900 injured.
She said these numbers are based on verified incidents and the actual numbers are “significantly higher.”
Most were caused by high-impact explosive weapons, many of which are inherently indiscriminate when used in populated areas, causing increased casualties and devastating humanitarian consequences, she added.
The UN Commission of Inquiry into Ukraine earlier this month reported on its first mission to the country, including to Bucha, Irpin, Kharkiv and Sumy.
While still in the early stages of her work, she said the Commission has received information and visited sites that “support claims of serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, potentially leading to war crimes.” and crimes against humanity. †
The Commission, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and other investigative efforts are “essential” to account for the crimes and atrocities committed.
“This work must lead to justice…if we hope to prevent such violations in the future, wherever they threaten to happen,” Ms DiCarlo emphasized.
While more than 8.8 million people across Ukraine have received some form of humanitarian aid and protection, at least 16 million people are in need of assistance.
Meanwhile, humanitarian partners are working on a winter storage relief plan and are extending the Flash appeal to provide support until the end of 2022.
And when it comes to health, safety and access to food, the head of political affairs said that women in particular faced immense hardship.
She quoted a quick gender analysis by UN Women and the anti-poverty and injustice NGO CARE, explaining how they increasingly become family heads and leaders in their communities when men are called up.
“They should be included in formal decision-making processes related to humanitarian efforts, peacebuilding and other areas that directly affect their lives,” she explained.
At the same time, the World Health Organization (WHO) has now registered 323 attacks on healthcare facilities and staff, with 76 deaths.
“We strongly remind all parties of their obligations under international humanitarian law: all appropriate measures must be taken to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure,” emphasized Ms DiCarlo during her 10-week first briefing to the Council.
More than a quarter of Ukrainians, or 12 million people, have been displaced from their homes since the start of the Russian invasion.
And more than 7.1 million remain internally displaced.
The United Nations Refugee Agency UNHCR estimates that more than 5.2 million refugees have sought refuge across Europe and that more than 3.5 million Ukrainian refugees have registered for temporary protection or similar national protection schemes on the continent.
Long term recovery
Given the increasingly protracted nature of the conflict, Ukraine’s long-term recovery and reconstruction needs must now also be taken into account, she insisted.
She told the Council that the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has launched a resilience and recovery program to support the government’s emergency response, keep the economy going and help assess priority needs.
Outside the borders
The war has devastating consequences for Ukraine, the immediate region and far beyond its borders.
In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, price shocks are mounting in the global food, energy and fertilizer markets.
“To face this multidimensional threat, a strong political will in the multilateral community and a comprehensive approach is first and foremost necessary,” said the head of political affairs. “For the sake of Ukraine, Russia and the whole world”.
Russia’s expulsion from UN urges Zelenskyy
During a video conference call, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy argued that Russia’s actions in his country had now turned it into a “terrorist state” that should be banned from the United Nations.
Recognizing that the Organization has no legal definition of what a “terrorist state” is, he stressed that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “demonstrates not only the significance of this notion, but the urgent need to enshrine it legally”.
“Russia has no right to participate in discussions and votes on the war against Ukraine” in the Security Council, he said, urging ambassadors to “liberate the delegation from the terrorist state”.
Full Scale Aggression
President Zelensky emphasized Russia’s “all-out war of aggression” and said dozens were still missing in the explosion at the Kremenchuk shopping center and that it was inconceivable that the Russians did not know it was “an ordinary shopping center”.
He invoked the names of several dozen civilians he believes had been killed by Russian fire, ranging in age from three months to 68, across Ukraine, and concluded by asking for a moment of silence in memory of the tens of thousands of innocent people who died. perished.
He said it was essential to prosecute Russia on a “global level”.
Russia’s first deputy permanent representative, Dmitry Polyanskiy, argued that his country simply did not attack civilians or civilian infrastructure during its special military operation in Ukraine.
He urged the Council to heed what he believed to be eyewitness accounts which would confirm that Monday’s attack on an apartment building in Kiev was not the result of a Russian cruise missile, but of two failed Ukrainian operations leading to the shooting down “their own anti-aircraft missiles”.
Moreover, the Russian ambassador argued that the West that supplies weapons to Ukraine only serves to prolong the “criminal regime” in Kiev.