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

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Over 14.6 million Ukrainians will need humanitarian assistance this year

10 January 2024

Thank you, President, and I thank Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo and Director Wosornu for their briefings today.

Amid New Year celebrations elsewhere, Ukrainians entered this New Year in darkness, without heating, without shelter, and with air raids ringing.

Ninety drones were fired at Odesa, Lviv and other cities on New Year’s Eve. Another massive assault took place on Monday as temperatures across Ukraine dropped as low as minus 20. Over 1,000 towns and villages in nine regions were left without power.

Responders are rapidly making repairs and I do not doubt the resilience and the determination of Ukrainians to defend their freedom and their territory. But these attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure must stop.

In addition, Russia’s use of ballistic missiles from the DPRK is a sign of recklessness and desperation. It violates multiple resolutions.

All UN Members have an obligation to implement UN resolutions. So I call on Russia, a P5 country, to halt its trading in arms with the DPRK, and to implement all UNSC resolutions in full, and to restate its commitment to the global non-proliferation regime.

I also call on Iran, the DPRK, and any third party that is providing material support to the Russian war machine to cease immediately. Ending Russia’s access to foreign weapons will help end this war.

Now more specifically, President, near the front lines in Ukraine, the situation is even worse. The UN’s Humanitarian Needs and Response Plan for 2024 refers to entire communities pummelled daily, regions where no hospital or clinic has been left untouched by war. People have been without water and gas in their homes for over a year now.

As we heard from OCHA, over 14.6 million people, about 40 percent of the Ukrainian population living in Ukraine, will need humanitarian assistance in 2024.  The UK has committed $472.72 million in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and the region since 2022 and our support will continue.

But as I heard during my visit to Kyiv, Russia continues to impede humanitarian access for millions of people living in the temporarily controlled territories.  Civilians are struggling to access water, food, shelter and other essential services. And the situation is expected to get worse as the cold weather intensifies.

So Russia must, as this Council has said repeatedly, allow humanitarian organisations safe and unimpeded access to these areas immediately.

Mr President, New Year is a time for resolutions. We suggest Russia make three. To abide by the UN Charter and Council resolutions, to stop its attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, and to withdraw its military from Ukrainian soil.

Thank you, President.

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