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

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December 6, 2022

Madam President,

I would like to thank Mr. Griffiths for his statement, as well as all the United Nations agencies for the operations they are conducting in very difficult conditions in Ukraine.

Russia continues its aggression and is now using winter as a weapon of war.

France condemns in the strongest possible terms the continuation of Russia’s massive attacks against the entire territory of Ukraine. Yesterday, they once again cost the lives of many civilians and damaged essential infrastructure. France expresses its condolences to the victims and their families. This systematic targeting, while temperatures are now negative, reflects a clear desire by Russia to make the Ukrainian people suffer, to deprive them of water, heating and electricity in the hope of undermining their resistance.

The cost of the war for children is terrible. More than 500 medical facilities have been attacked or destroyed according to the WHO. Today, 3.3 million children need assistance, according to UNICEF. Two thirds of children have been displaced since February 24. 2500 schools have been destroyed or damaged. 5 million children are out of school. France salutes the work of UNICEF and UNESCO to enable these displaced children to have access to education, including at a distance.

It condemns all deliberate attacks against schools and hospitals. These acts are serious crimes punishable under international law and are among the grave violations established by the resolutions of this Council. We rely on the UN monitoring and reporting mechanism to document these violations and assign responsibility. Those who kill children and attack schools in violation of international humanitarian law belong on the infamous list of the Secretary-General’s annual report.

In this context, France will continue to give its full support to the Ukrainian justice system and to international jurisdictions, starting with the International Criminal Court.

Madam President,

We once again call on Russia to respect the order issued by the International Court of Justice on March 16, to put an end to this unjustifiable and devastating war and to withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory within its internationally recognized borders.

France salutes the efforts of the Secretary-General, UN agencies and the ICRC, which have made it possible to evacuate several hundred civilians and wounded from besieged areas. It is essential that these evacuations continue, while allowing the evacuees to choose their destination. Respect for international humanitarian law and human rights is non-negotiable. Humanitarian access must be guaranteed.

Madam President,

Ukraine is on the side of peace in this conflict. While the Ukrainian president presented his “10-point peace plan” to the G20, Russia responded with massive strikes on Ukrainian cities. It is Russia that is standing in the way of any peace, escalating in an attempt to break the resistance of the Ukrainian people. We welcome President Zelensky’s effort to start a path to peace. France stands ready to help build a just and lasting peace.

We remain fully mobilized in support of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. In view of the emergency and as winter sets in, France is co-organizing, with Ukraine, an international conference in support of Ukrainian civil society on December 13 in Paris. The objective of the conference is to mobilize and coordinate aid to help the Ukrainian population survive the winter, with a particular focus on five areas: energy, water, food and health infrastructures, and transportation networks.

Thank you.

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