Statement by Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the UN, at a UN Security Council Briefing on the Humanitarian Situation in Ukraine

The Ukrainian people are not alone

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6 February 2023

Madam President,

I thank Mr. Griffiths for his briefing.

As we are approaching the commemoration of February 24, Russia is continuing its strikes against Ukrainian civilian infrastructure. A new wave of bombings took place on January 26, while the French Foreign Minister was visiting Odessa, Odessa which was again deprived of electricity on Saturday. Before that, on January 14, Russian strikes caused the death of 46 people in Dnipro. France condemns in the strongest terms this strategy of systematically targeting infrastructure and civilian populations.

These attacks constitute war crimes. It will be soon one year, one year of suffering for the Ukrainian people. It is high time for this to come to an end.

In one year, this war has, according to the figures available to us, killed more than 7,000 Ukrainian civilians and injured more than 11,000. The figures are probably much higher. The High Commissioner for Refugees recently warned that the intensification of the fighting will lead to a new increase in the number of refugees; 8 million people have already left the country and more than 6 million people are displaced within Ukraine.

Russia bet on winter for Ukrainian people to cave in. It is burdening them with suffering, seeking to deprive them of heating, electricity and water. We cannot allow this strategy to succeed and we will continue to support Ukraine to legitimately defend itself.

The Ukrainian people are not alone: the massive support of the international community does not waver. We stand by them and will continue to do so. This is the spirit in which France organized the “Solidarity with the Ukrainian People” conference on December 13, which enabled us to help Ukraine meet its most pressing needs by mobilizing more than one billion euros. We remain fully mobilized today. To mention just a few emblematic operations, France has delivered 63 high-power generators and 5 million LED light bulbs in the last few weeks. All commitments we have taken will be fulfilled by mid-February, making a concrete impact on the daily lives of millions of Ukrainians possible.

Madam President,

The consequences of the Russian aggression extend far beyond the borders of Ukraine. It has caused global food insecurity that has reached unprecedented levels of severity. We call on Russia not to block the renewal of the Black Sea Grain Initiative next March.

Madam President,

In the face of this aggression, France will continue to stand beside Ukraine. We will never resign ourselves to a world in which force prevails over law. A world in which a permanent member state of this Council violates with impunity the fundamental principles of our Charter. We will continue to support investigations conducted by the Ukrainian judicial system and by international jurisdictions to combat impunity, and we will continue to provide the Ukrainian people with all the humanitarian, economic and military support they need to exercise their right to legitimate defense and preserve their freedom.

Thank you.

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