Scale of Destruction across Ukraine Will Require Strong International Support Going Far beyond Humanitarian Aid, Secretary-General Tells Conference
Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message for the international conference on Ukraine, in Paris today:
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, let me begin by thanking the Governments of France and Ukraine for hosting this international conference to support Ukraine’s civilian resilience.
The war in Ukraine is a relentless humanitarian nightmare. It is getting worse as the days pass and the temperature drops. Civilians are paying an especially heavy price during the winter season, particularly people living on the front lines and those cut off from heat, water and essential services.
Every major Ukrainian power plant and electricity transmission system has suffered damage due to Russian bombing. Power, water and heating engineers are working around the clock to repair the energy infrastructure.
But today, 10 million consumers — including families, businesses, hospitals and schools — are without electricity, and millions are cut off from water and heat. The severe destruction to homes, livelihoods and critical infrastructure will take years to rebuild.
Over the past few months, humanitarians have provided more than 630,000 civilians with direct winter assistance, and 400 generators have been distributed to critical facilities. Thousands more are being procured or have already been dispatched to Ukraine from abroad. But all of this is a drop in the bucket.
The scale of destruction across the country requires strong support from the international community — going far beyond humanitarian aid.
We must invest in Ukraine’s resilient recovery and reconstruction to prevent the current crisis from cascading into poverty, hunger and destitution for millions of Ukrainians. And we must work together to create the conditions to forge peace in line with the Charter of the United Nations and international law. Thank you for coming together to do just that.