June 28, 2022
Thank you, USG DiCarlo, for this update, again a troubling one on this issue.
A senseless war of aggression that could and must have been avoided, has entered its fifth month.
125 days of outspread destruction, mounting civilian casualties and continued pain inflicted on millions of people in Ukraine.
Other millions across the world find themselves victims, as collateral damage of a war that has nothing to do with them, that is weaponizing everything, energy, trade, communication, including primarily food.
Let us remind ourselves: on 29 March, 5 weeks after the start of its war of choice in Ukraine, Russia announced it was withdrawing its forces from the Kyiv area. The reason provided then was that it was a goodwill gesture to favor negotiations between the parties.
The truth proved very different: the attempt to take Kyiv failed spectacularly. Negotiations went nowhere; war intensified instead.
Russia continues its massive assault on Ukraine, threatening Europe, running against every human effort invested since World War II to build global peace through the international rule of law.
As war has shifted ferociously to the East, life returned to some sort of normalcy in Kiev until missiles started falling from the sky with an unmistaken message: Russia can hit you, at will, anywhere, anytime. Just because they can. Last Sunday, nearly one thousand people found themselves under a Russian airstrike which hit a shopping mall in the city of Kremenchuk in central Ukraine. Reportedly, tens of people lost their lives and several dozens were injured.
What possible justification can be provided to missiles thrown over a commercial Centre in the very heart of an urban area? What can possibly explain such blatant indiscriminate brutality against civilians?
Russia has continuously denied targeting civilians but overwhelming evidence like this one, proves, again and again, the contrary. Have we forgotten that Kiev was deliberately targeted last April as the UN SG Guterres was visiting the city? Reports speak now of deliberate attacks in protest to the G7 meeting. If it were so, why should civilians, including children, pay the price of such despicable symbolism?
Indiscriminate attacks on civilian infrastructure and innocent civilians constitute war crimes. Those who decide to attack shopping centers, shelters, schools, hospitals, kindergarten, apartment buildings are well aware of possible civilian casualties. They know they are committing war crimes when their responsibility is to protect civilians! They must pay for their actions.
This aggression is not limited to Ukraine only. Zealous commentators of the state propaganda but also senior Kremlin officials fill the air with worst-case scenarios of deploying weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear saber-rattling. We notice a dramatical increase of cyber warfare and advanced disinformation attacks.
Further, the current food insecurity crisis continues to spread around the world. Global food prices are now at an all-time high. This is a parallel war that Russia is waging against the world.
It has transformed the war in Ukraine from a local act of aggression to an acute international challenge.
We know that million tons of grain are piled in Ukraine. Out of it, 8 million tons are said to be in the occupied areas and Russia is reportedly stealing it from Ukraine. A meticulous and professional investigation from the BBC shows how this is carried out in Dombas, and not only for grain but also other Ukrainian assets. Russia has already occupied 20% of Ukrainian territory, but its appetite has increased.
This war is paralyzing Ukraine; it is destroying its industry, its roads, and schools and its health system along the way. It is killing civilians, it is punishing its youth and is destroying the fabric of the society. It is testing the resolve of those who truly believe in the rules-based international order, in the respect of the UN Charter.
This is no time to stay aside.
International support for Ukraine and its people is a moral and solidarity issue; it is to choose to stand on the right side, that of the law, of rights, of life, of dignity.
One day, this war will be over and the way it ends matter for all of us.
If we want to preserve the rule of law, we must make sure that everyone knows the cost of aggression against another country.
We welcome the recent commitments of G7 for a new package of coordinated actions aimed at increasing pressure on Russia over its war in Ukraine. We also welcome the latest decisions of the European Union.
This war must stop, with full and immediate withdrawal of the Russian forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine.
The sooner the better, for all, Ukraine, Russia and the entire world.