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

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Yet another brutal attack by Russia against the Ukrainian people: UK statement at the UN Security Council

29 December 2023

Thank you President, and I join others in thanking Assistant Secretary-General Khiari as well.

Colleagues, it is with deep regret that we find ourselves sitting here to respond to yet another brutal attack by Russia against the Ukrainian people. Last night, Russia launched the largest wave of missile and drone attacks since the war started, using over 158 weapons of different types.

This was not a push on the front lines. These missiles were aimed at population centres across Ukraine:  Kyiv, Lviv, Dnipro, Odesa, Kharkiv, Khmelnytskyi and many more cities. They struck homes, apartment buildings, shopping centres, and metros. A maternity hospital and regional oncology centre have been damaged. In short, civilian infrastructure.

These reports are unfortunately no longer surprising. But they are still shocking. Reports indicate at least 30 people have been killed and hundreds wounded – and the death toll is still rising. This toll would be much higher, if not for Ukrainian air defence systems, which have been supplemented by the international community.

This war, which Russia alone chose, continues to inflict a devastating human cost on ordinary Ukrainians. Earlier this month, during my visit to Kyiv, I met children recovering from injuries caused by Russian missile strikes in Kherson and at Kramatorsk railway station. These children lost limbs. They lost their parents. They lost their childhood. But these are brave and resilient children and they’re determined to rebuild their lives, their homes and their country. Russia’s illegal and brutal aggression will, however, last long in Ukraine’s history.

Last night’s attack was, as my Defence Secretary said, a desperate and futile attempt by Russia to regain momentum. They will not succeed. Ukraine has already forced Russia’s Black Sea fleet to retreat from its Crimea base. Ukraine is defending its territory. It has already retaken more than half the land seized by Russia since February 2022. And, as I said,  is pushing back Russia in the Black Sea.

So again, we praise the bravery and resolve of the Ukrainian people and its armed forces. The United Kingdom continues to stand by them. We are sending hundreds more missiles to restock the air defence systems, which are helping to protect Ukraine’s civilians and its infrastructure from Russia’s brutal attack.

Our support will remain for as long as it takes and I join the Secretary-General in condemning these attacks in the strongest terms.

President, as this is likely the final meeting of the year, I want to express my appreciation to the Presidency for their excellent stewardship of the Council this busy month, and I’d also like to extend our gratitude to Albania, to Brazil, to Gabon, and to Ghana and the UAE. You have been excellent partners, you’ve made vital contributions to the Council’s work and each brought your unique perspective, and we will miss you.

Thank you.


Ambassador Woodward, taking the floor a second time, responded to the representative of the Russian Federation who misquoted her remarks.

“I want to be clear:  There is only one cause of the tragedy and that is the actions of Russia.  The rest is a torrent of lies and disinformation,” she said.

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