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

Russian air strikes in Ukraine have killed at least 262 civilians in six months

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October 9, 2023

Thank you, President. Thank you to USG DiCarlo for your briefing.

President, on Thursday, people in New York woke to news of yet another Russian attack against Ukraine. This time, Russia was responsible for the deaths of more than 50 people in the small village of Hroza when a missile struck a café, and we extend our condolences to the bereaved.

As my Prime Minister said, the attack demonstrates the depths of depravity Russian forces are willing to sink to. Then on Friday, Russia struck Kharkiv. A 10-year-old boy was killed and more than 20 people were injured.  The Office for the High Commissioner of Human Rights reported last week that Russian air strikes between February and August this year killed at least 262 civilians and injured 990, and inflicted further broad economic and social damage.

The same OHCHR report addressed the attack on 28 July 2022 that killed more than 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war at Olenivka. Contrary to Russian claims made many times in this Council, the OHCHR found the attack was launched from Russian-controlled territory, and that Russia was holding those prisoners in a manner that contravenes international humanitarian law.

Yet again, today our Russian colleagues will drag us into their world of disinformation, where facts are dismissed as lies, and lies presented as facts.

President, Russia’s words in this Council are worthless to those who want to understand Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and its true cost.

Let’s remind ourselves of some facts.

Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is illegal, as is Russia’s control of Ukrainian territory inside Ukraine’s internationally-recognised borders.

The body of evidence of Russia’s breaches of international law and international humanitarian law in the course of its invasion continues to grow. Just as Russian claims about the attack at Olenivka have been disproved, the truth will catch up with Russia’s lies.

President, we praise and admire the bravery and resolve of the Ukrainian people in the face of this assault on its sovereignty and territorial integrity. We thank the United Nations staff whose record of Russian human rights violations and abuses, as well as violations of international law, show the reality of Russia’s invasion, and support future efforts toward justice.

We will continue to support Ukraine in exercising its right to self-defence, and as it brings together Member States in support of our shared goal of a just and lasting peace in line with the UN Charter.

We call once more for Russia to end its illegal invasion, and withdraw from Ukraine’s internationally recognised borders.

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